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A Good Place To Start

Awakenings 1
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat 1

A Bad Place To Start

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood 1


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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Oliver Sacks

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

wordwise December 1st, 2006 07:59 AM PST

Sacks is a brilliant British-born neurologist who observes his patients with profound, sympathetic attention and relates their case histories in an irresistible novelistic voice. With its restless intelligence, omnivorous curiosity, dry humor and sometimes eccentric worldview, his voice reminds me strangely of Conan Doyle's in the Sherlock Holmes stories. "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," a collection of case histories, is probably the place to start. "Awakenings" might be another good starting point. It is the extraordinary story of his work with patients who had been left in suspended animation by a pandemic of sleeping-sickness in the late teens and early 1920's. Forty years later, Sacks used L-Dopa to briefly reawaken them. The results are fascinating and heartbreaking.


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Oliver Sacks was born in 1933 in London, England (both of his parents were physicians) and earned his medical degree at Queen's College, Oxford. In the early 1960s, he moved to the United States and completed an internship in San Francisco and a residency in neurology at UCLA. Since 1965, he has lived in New York, where he is clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, adjunct professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine and consultant neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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