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The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales par [Sacks, Oliver]
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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

A neurologist who claims to be equally interested in disease and people, Sacks (Awakenings, etc.) explores neurological disorders with a novelist's skill and an appreciation of his patients as human beings. These cases, some of which have appeared in literary or medical publications, illustrate the tragedy of losing neurological facultiesmemory, powers of visualization, word-recognitionor the also-devastating fate of those suffering an excess of neurological functions causing such hyper states as chorea, tics, Tourette's syndrome and Parkinsonism. Still other patients experience organically based hallucinations, transports, visions, etc., usually deemed to be psychic in nature. The science of neurology, Sacks charges, stresses the abstract and computerized at the expense of judgment and emotional depthsin his view, the most important human qualities. Therapy for brain-damaged patients (by medication, accommodation, music or art) should, he asserts, be designed to help restore the essentially personal quality of the individual. First serial to New York Review of Books, The Sciences and Science; Reader's Subscription alternate. January
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Neurologist Sacks, author of Awakenings and A Leg To Stand On , presents a series of clinical tales drawn from fascinating and unusual cases encountered during his years of medical practice. Dividing his text into four parts"losses" of neurological function; "excesses"; "transports" involving reminiscence, altered perception, and imagination; and "the simple," or the world of the retardedSacks introduces the reader to real people who suffer from a variety of neurological syndromes which include symptoms such as amnesia, uncontrolled movements, and musical hallucinations. Sacks recounts their stories in a riveting, compassionate, and thoughtful manner. Written on a somewhat scholarly level, the book is highly recommended for larger collections. Debra Berlanstein, Towson State Univ. Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1128 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 259 pages
  • Editeur : Odyssey Editions (21 juillet 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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348 internautes sur 356 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Truly incredible tales and a great read 19 novembre 2004
Par Dennis Littrell - Publié sur
Format: Broché
It is utterly fascinating to know that, as a result of a neurological condition, a man can actually mistake his wife for a hat and not realize it. It is also fascinating to learn that a stroke can leave a person with the inability to see things on one side of the visual field--which is what happened to "Mrs. S." as recalled in the chapter, "Eyes Right!"--and yet not realize that anything is missing. In both cases there was nothing wrong with the patient's eyes; it was the brain's processing of the visual information that had gone haywire.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks, who has a wonderful way with words and a strong desire to understand and appreciate the human being that still exists despite the disorder or neurological damage, treats the reader to these and twenty-two other tales of the bizarre in this very special book. My favorite tale is Chapter 21, "Rebecca," in which Dr. Sacks shows that a person of defective intelligence--a "moron"--is still a person with a sense of beauty and with something to give to the world. Sacks generously (and brilliantly) shows how Rebecca taught him the limitations of a purely clinical approach to diagnosis and treatment. Although the child-like 19-year-old didn't have the intelligence to "find her way around the block" or "open a door with a key," Rebecca had an emotional understanding of life superior to many adults. She loved her grandmother deeply and when she died, Rebecca expressed her feelings to Sacks, "I'm crying for me, not for her...She's gone to her Long Home." She added, poetically, "I'm so cold. It's not outside, it's winter inside. Cold as death...She was a part of me. Part of me died with her" (p. 182). Rebecca goes on to show Dr. Sacks that they pay "far too much attention to the defects of...patients...and far too little to what...[is] intact or preserved" (p. 183). Rebecca was tired of the meaningless classes and workshops and odd jobs. "What I really the theatre," she said. Sacks writes that the theatre "composed her...she became a complete person, poised, fluent, with style, in each role" (p. 185).

Another of my favorite stories is Chapter 23, "The Twins." These two guys, idiots savants, "undersized, with disturbing disproportions in head and hands...monotonous squeaky voices...a very high, degenerative myopia, requiring glasses so thick that their eyes seem distorted" (p. 196) had the very strange ability of being able to factor quickly in their heads large numbers and to recognize primes at a glance. They could also give you almost instantly the day of the week for any day in history. One day a box of matches fell on the floor and "<111,> they both cried simultaneously." And then one said "37" and then the other said "37" and then the first said "37" and stopped. There were indeed 111 matches on the floor (Sacks counted them) and three times the prime number 37 does indeed equal 111! (p. 199). Later he discovered them saying six-figure numbers to one another. One would give a number and the other would receive it "and richly." Sacks discovered that they were tossing out primes to one another just for the sheer joy of doing it.

Another of Sacks's discoveries about his patients is that "music, narrative and drama" are "of the greatest practical and theoretical importance" (p. 185). He demonstrates this again and again here and in his more recent book, An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales (1995), which is also an incredibly fascinating book. (See my review here at Many people with neurological disorders or deficiencies become whole when engaged in a process such as story, music or drama. The process seems to give them a structure to follow which, for the time being, overcomes their handicap. This is seen remarkably even in a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome who, while performing surgery, was without tics (as reported in the book mentioned above).

It's clear that one of Sacks's purposes in sharing his experience is to dispel the prejudice against people who are different because of their defects. One can see that respect for others regardless of their limitations is something Sacks incorporates in his practice and his life. It is one of the many virtues of this wonderful book, that in reading it, we too are moved to a greater respect for others, people who really are challenged in ways we "normal" people can only imagine.
103 internautes sur 105 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating 3 octobre 1998
Par M. Broda - Publié sur
Format: Broché
The first thing I did after reading this book was to hop back onto Amazon.con and order "Awakenings" and "An Anthropolgist on Mars." This book was recommended by one of my philosophy professors in college about six years ago. Well, it took me six years to pick it up, and I don't regret the decision. As a complete layperson, my eyes were opened to what a complex piece of machinery the brain is. Sack's personal perspective on these patients disorders is what takes this interesting material and makes it fascinating reading. The only problem I had with this book was that I was disappointed to see most every chapter end. I wanted to know more about most every case. I only rank it 4 instead of 5 for that reason (It could have been more in-depth) and a couple of the cases were simply mildly interesting rather than mind-bending. It's almost imcrompehensible to perceive the world and one's self in the same manner as some of these unfortunate people. I was especially intrigued by one of the questions Sack's brings up concerning the case history discussed in the chapter "The Lost Mariner." A man can remember nothing for more than a few seconds. His entire life, all of his experiences are gone almost as soon as they are past. "He is a man without a past (or future), stuck in a constantly changing, meaningless moment," Sacks writes. Sacks then ponders the question that will stop your heart: "Does he have a soul?" If you have ever been bothered by the question of the spiritual nature of man, Sacks --who stops well short of reaching any theological conclusions -- will disturb you with this material. From that standpoint, he is brilliant at informing by simply forcing the reader to ask questions of his or her self...questions which Sack's himself admits even he has no clue as to the answers. This book could change your perspective on life, or simply entertain you as an interesting novelty. In any case, I very highly recommend it...can't wait to get into "Anthropologist" next.
145 internautes sur 159 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A little old, but still interesting 26 juillet 2002
Par Atheen - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I used to work on a neurology ward when I first started in health care, and the many sad stories that I was privy to during that time has encouraged me to keep up with some of the research in brain and mind science.
Oliver Sacks' book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was first published in 1970 and has been reprinted several times with new material added. The book is an interesting collection of stories of individuals with neurological deficits that highlight and clarify how the normal brain works. The author approaches his study with a compassion for his patient's troubled existence, and where the patients are content with their lot, he prudently leaves well enough alone, something not all MD's are willing to do. He also appreciates what his patients have to teach him about life and even about the practice of medicine itself. His ability to learn from others considered "unfortunate" or mentally "defective" makes the book a very insightful work.
While the author's extensive clinical practice has allowed him to make some interesting statements about what parts of the brain are involved with different mental functions, what he fails to do in this book is to provide anything approaching testable ideas or actual research supporting his theories. The colorful stories are well worth reading as moral parables, but a better book on current mind and brain research might be Ramachandran's Phantoms in the Brain. One might begin with the Sacks book, which is easy to read, and proceed to the more extensive work by Ramachandran.
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Deeply Spiritual Book 20 mai 2001
Par Wanda - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I first encountered the essay "Rebecca" (one of the fine "clinical tales" in Sacks's book)in a Norton Anthology I used in a writing course. In this essay, Sacks describes his encounter with a young girl on a park bench outside the hospital. Later, he encounters her in a clinical setting as a patient, and has a different view of her. His clinical methodology uncovers her deficits; his challenge is to see past them to the whole spiritual being he saw sitting on a park bench transfixed with the beauty of spring. That he is able to do so refocuses his attitudes toward his other patients, for what he sees in Rebecca, he now "saw in them all."
For me what was most interesting about these fascinating stories is that the underlying question has to do less with cures for bizarre neurological diseases, than with the essential question of what makes us who we are, and what do we do when our entire concept of self is savaged and the world left unrecognizable?
For Sacks, at least part of the answer lies in art--the narrative in the synagogue that knits Rebecca's deficits and makes her whole (holy?); the music that enables some patients who are unable even to walk without difficulty, the ability to dance; the notes that enable stutterers to sing.
This is a wonderful book that does what wonderful books do--it makes the reader look again at what he only thought he saw before, and see it whole.
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It will change the way you think of the concept of "self". 19 mars 2002
Par Christopher B. Hoehne - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I first picked up this book about five years ago when browsing in the Science section of a local bookstore. I was taken by the strangeness of the title. Later, I got ahold of the Audio version of the book, which my wife and I played during a long vacation drive.
The book consists of a collection of reasonably short clinicial stories of some of the patients that Dr. Sacks has come across in his work as a Neurologist. Sound dry? I assure you, it is not.
With facination, and great humanity, Sacks recounts the stories of people, who, because of one deficit (injury or progressive malady) or another have had their personalites, perceptions, or senses profoundly altered. Taken one at a time, the stories are quirky, yet compassionate, illustrations of the symptoms of various nurological maladies and the people who struggle with them. There's the story of the patient who suffers from an inability to conceive of his own legs as part of his own body. There's the sad and lonely tale of a man who us unable to form long term memories and lives in a constantly shifting world that is perpetually only a few minutes old. There's a recounting of the visions of the ancient Saint Hildegard, whose migrane headaches appeared to her to be visions of heaven.
Taken together, one gets a awe inspring sense of how who and what we are is controlled by the processes of the brain and also a sense that there are certain universal human prepensities- such as the struggle for "wholeness" or a desire for the sublime.
This is one of my favorite books. I frequently loan one of my two copies to friends. I highly recommend the somewhat abridged Audio version as well, as Dr. Sacks voice adds a layer of facination to the tales.
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