Author(s): Oliver Sacks
Here are seven detailed and fascinating portraits of neurological patients, including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette's syndrome unless he is operating; an artist who loses all sense of color in a car accident, but finds a new sensibility and creative power in black and white; and an autistic professor who cannot decipher the simplest social exchange between humans, but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behavior.
Sacks combines the well honed mind of an academician with the verve of a true storyteller, and manages to produce a book at once accessible and challenging. The capacity to observe the patient as a different form of human being, instead of as just an 'interesting case', is a true insight into what Medicine should be; furthermore, as the author insistently teaches, neurological diseases differ from other ailments in that they become a true portion of the persona, and, in a sense, they belong to the patient, whereas most people consider disease to be something that 'happens' to them, an outside influence not to be confused with the true Self. It is a truly accessible and moving book, and teaches us all something about the diversity and depths of the human kind.
Oliver Sacks is a physician and the author of many books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film) and Musicophilia. Born in London and educated at Oxford, he now lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is the first, and only, Columbia University Artist, and is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. In 2008, he was appointed Commander of the British Empire. For more information, visit www.oliversacks.com