The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat : And Other Clinical Tales
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat And Other Clinical Tales Author:Oliver Sacks In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century" (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fanta... more »stic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks's splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject."« less
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The individual case studies in this book were incredibly interesting, but Sacks, I think, has an ego problem that emerges when he spouts his technical medi-speak. That seriously detracts from any enjoyment one can derive from the book.
I first heard about this book when the author, Oliver Sacks, did an interview on NPR (National Public Radio). He had many interesting things to say, including the story that forms the title of this book. Upon reading the story, I was struck by the fact that the retelling of the story has a different tone than the actual printed version: neither bad nor good, just different. Dr. Sacks gave himself a far more active role in the radio version than in the printed version.
Overall, the book's stories are fascinating. However.....a big However: the author writes with a very clinical tone. I've been in the medical field for 22 years and found the going rather heavy at times. The typical layperson will probably do a lot more skimming through the tough stuff, but all in all, it is a fascinating look at what can go wrong in the human mind, yet life goes on.
Another note: The first copyright of this book is 1971; therefore, today's reader may encounter various terms (as applied to race and mental illness) which may be somewhat offensive. Keep in mind that context is everything!
V. N. (verrby) reviewed The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat : And Other Clinical Tales on
Helpful Score: 3
Oliver Sacks is a neurologist that has chronicled patient studies in a very readable, literary way. His attention to humane detail makes his books (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and An Anthopologist on Mars, in particular) true literature, so much more than dry medical reports. A deep kindness and fondness for humanity in all its magnificient oddity runs through his writing. Included are portraits of people with autism, Tourette's, Parkinson's, etc.
The copy of this book that I am listing is softcover, not hardcover. It also may be considered a large-print edition, although it is not so labeled. The print is smaller than I have seen in other books labeled large-print, but I would guess it is 14- or 16-point, certainly larger than used in most books.
I FINALLY finished this book after starting it in like January (it's June now). I think it was difficult to read because 1) I kept reading it at bedtime and thus fell asleep during it 2) it was heavy on the clinical terms and references at times 3) it was a collection of different stories so I didn't feel compelled to finish it since each time I read one story, I read it from beginning to end. I still enjoyed it though and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the field of psychology.