240 Beats per Minute

Life with an Unruly Heart

Roger M. Mills MD & Bernard Witholt

“Ever wanted to continue a conversation with a lifelong friend who has died? Impossible, you say!

Not for cardiologist and author Roger Mills and his Amherst College classmate and rowing partner from fifty years ago—the accomplished European research biologist Bernard Witholt. This book was born two years after Witholt’s death, when his widow shared his journal about living with an “unruly heart” (that occasionally raced at 240 beats per minute) with Mills. 240 Beats per Minute recounts an extraordinary conversation—the combination of Bernie’s journal and Roger’s commentary. It’s a read of such continuing surprise, discovery, triumph, and, in the end, mutual understanding and respect, that we readers become the luckiest of eavesdroppers: Long after we finish Life with an Unruly Heart, Bernie and Roger’s conversation will live in our minds.”

—Paul Dimond, lawyer and author of The Belle of Two Arbors and Beyond Busing, winner of the Ralph J. Bunche Book of the Year Award

Bernard Witholt was born in Holland shortly after the Nazi invasion in 1941. His family moved to Brazil after WWII and later immigrated to the United States, where he graduated from Amherst College and received a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Bernard spent his professional life in Europe as a faculty member at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and at ETH Zurich, a world-class research university with ties to more than twenty Nobel prizewinners. In 2007, the Dutch royal family recognized Bernard’s work with its highest civilian honor, The Order of the Netherlands Lion (De Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw), an award given for exceptional achievements in art, science, and literature.

Roger Mills graduated from Amherst College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and two years active duty in the U.S. Navy, he completed his training in cardiology at Harvard’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. His thirty-year clinical career included medical directorship of the heart transplant program at the University of Florida, where he was a professor of medicine, and appointment as a staff cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. In addition to extensive research publications, Roger is the author of Nesiritide:The Rise and Fall of Scios, the Foreword Indies 2016 Bronze Medal winner for science.