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Literature & Fiction

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (63 votes)

Released: 1995-02-07

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(as of 2012-10-07 02:20:47 PST)

An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales by Oliver Sacks


Detailed and fascinating portraits of seven 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.

“Among doctors who write with acuity and grace, Sacks ( The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) takes a higher place with each successive book…. enlarges our view of the nature of human experience.” –Publisher's Weekly

“… Dr. Sacks's best book to date.” –The New York Time Book Review

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Editorial Review

The works of neurologist Oliver Sacks have a special place in the swarm of mind-brain studies. He has done as much as anyone to make nonspecialists aware of how much diversity gets lumped under the heading of “the human mind.”

The stories in An Anthropologist on Mars are medical case reports not unlike the classic tales of Berton Roueché in The Medical Detectives. Sacks's stories are of “differently brained” people, and they have the intrinsic human interest that spurred his book Awakenings to be re-created as a Robin Williams movie.

The title story in Anthropologist is that of autistic Temple Grandin, whose own book Thinking in Pictures gives her version of how she feels–as unlike other humans as a cow or a Martian. The other minds Sacks describes are equally remarkable: a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a painter who loses color vision, a blind man given the ambiguous gift of sight, artists with memories that overwhelm “real life,” the autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire, and a man with memory damage for whom it is always 1968.

Oliver Sacks is the Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould of his field; his books are true classics of medical writing, of the breadth of human mentality, and of the inner lives of the disabled. –Mary Ellen Curtin

Book Details

Author: Oliver Sacks Publisher: Knopf Binding: Hardcover Language: English Pages: 327

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