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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Paperback – 2 Sep 2011


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More About the Author

Oliver Sacks was born in London and educated in London, Oxford, California and New York. He now lives in America and practices neurology in New York, where he is also a professor of clinical neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is the author of ten books, including the bestselling The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings. His most recent book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain was an international bestseller. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Hawthornden Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Review

"New York Magazine" Dr. Sacks's most absorbing book.... His tales are so compelling that many of them serve as eerie metaphors not only for the condition of modern medicine but of modern man.

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The bestselling author of Awakenings and Musicophilia

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4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By "samanthas-bookshelf" on 1 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is written in a beautifully accessible and entertaining style; it is also moving, funny and tragic in equal measures.
Consisting mainly of short stories relating patient 'oddities' that the author has treated in his long career as a neurologist it manages to come across as anything but a list of dry case histories. The inclusion of the emotions of the patient as they deal with their difficulties and the reactions of the author keep this book human rather than academic.
Although this is a recommended book for undergraduate students of various disciplines, it should not be discounted as a mere informative reader because of that. Anyone interested in stories of the human condition or those with a fascination/awe of the human brain will find this intriguing, engaging and interesting.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Ned Clarence-Smith on 3 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
I first came across Oliver Sacks in a doctor's waiting room. There, lying on the table, was a copy of his first book, "Migraine". Since I suffer from bad headaches, I picked it up and started reading. Thoroughly intrigued by the elegantly written case studies it contained, I asked the doctor if I could borrow it, took it home, and finished it that evening. I then began to notice that Mr. Sacks periodically wrote articles for the New Yorker on strange neurological cases, and every time one came out I read it with delectation. So when I saw Mr. Sack's book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" at my local bookstore I bought it immediately.

I was not let down. The book is a fascinating compendium of neurological case studies, classified into four parts: Losses, Excesses, Transports, The World of the Simple. Mr. Sacks takes us on a journey through a series of neurological disturbances with extreme effects. Initially, one reads them with appalled fascination, with a feeling of being at the Circus staring at the Bearded Lady or the Elephant Man; I was forcefully reminded of Sylvia Plath's lines in "Lady Lazarus":
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand in foot --
The big strip tease.

But Oliver Sacks writes soberly and with great compassion about his cases, and drags us away from mere peanut-crunching voyeurism to finally contemplate what the cases tell us about what it means to be us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rob on 31 May 2013
Format: Paperback
I have read this book because some years ago when I was starting University, a professor of mine cited it in the context of problems that might arise when the brain does not function properly, and its particular title made me immediately curious.
The book is comprised by a series of different cases (with its peculiar title referring to the first one of them) brilliantly narrated by the author, neurologist Oliver Sacks, also famous for being portrayed by Robin Williams in the film Awakenings based on another book of his.
This book is certainly a classic in its genre and the author writes about complex topics without oversimplifying it to the point of inaccuracy. Infact, Sacks with his engaging writing style is able to make the content comprehensible and useful in many different ways for the lay readers and at the same time to give valuable neurological and neuropsychological insights for the professional audience, with the only partial reservation being that, considering the advance in research in these last decades, it could be not completely up to date in its every part.
The man who mistook his wife for a hat is a thought provoking book and I would absolutely recommend its reading to everyone curious about the workings and interconnections of mind and brain.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By John B on 11 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I can understand some of the critical reviews about this book but there is no doubt that it justifiably remains a classic and well worth reading - it was the first book of its kind and is for anyone interested in strange neurological case histories. Maybe the language is a bit dated but it was written a good few years ago. A more recent book that I've just read in a similar genre is 'Classic case studies in psychology' by Dr. Geoff Rolls - it contains different chapters on some of the best known cases in psychology (Genie, Phineas Gage, HM, David Reimer, and so on). It's a very easy and enjoyable read and most of the cases are perhaps better known than the ones in 'The Man who mistook his wife...' I notice that Amazon have paired it with Sach's book as a perfect partner so they must agree that the two are complementary. Both are well worth a read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By inch worm on 2 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
It is guaranteed that the reader will be utterly blown away with this extraordinary collection of medical insights into the symptoms that can occur when there are brain malfunctions with their consequenct bizarre changes in mental perceptions.This essentially is a collection of case histories that are quite out of the scope of the average persons understanding. Oliver Sacks' accessible style of writing gives us glimpses into the 'unreal' lives of patients who have to negotiate their everyday lives lacking some essential and basic abilities to relate to the world in a 'normal' way either in the business of memory, sensory perception or mobility.Each case reads like a whacky novel and leaves the reader with a feeling of walking on thin ice because the very foundations upon which we as 'normal'human beings base our lives come into question too.Not to be missed!
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