Skip to main content
PBS logo
 
 

Book Review of 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
perryfran avatar reviewed on + 1173 more book reviews


Somewhat interesting look at various forms of neurological disorders. This book provides several case histories of people who are afflicted with intellectual aberrations. These include the titular tale of a man who could no longer recognize faces and indeed mistook his wife for a hat. There was also an interesting case of a man who lost all of his present memories but could remember everything from 1945 and previously. Then there are the autistics and idiot savants who are mentally deficient but who have amazing mathematical or artistic abilities. This included a pair of twins who could tell you the day of the week of any date within the next or previous 40,000 years. They could also determine prime numbers over ten digits long. (Sacks mentioned that Robert Silverberg had included a character like the twins in one of his sci-fi novels, Thorns. I have a copy of this on my TBR stack that I now want to read sooner.)

Overall, this was an interesting look at these mental conditions but Sacks sometimes bogged down the prose with a lot of medical jargon that I had a hard time understanding. And I sometimes skimmed some of this just to get finished.