- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Main Market edition (19 Oct. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1447263642
- ISBN-13: 978-1447263647
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
43,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #95 in Books > Textbooks > Medicine & Health Sciences > Medicine > Basic Sciences > Neuroscience
- #146 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Medical & Healthcare Practitioners > Internal Medicine > Neurology & Clinical Neurophysiology
- #1123 in Books > Textbooks > Medicine & Health Sciences > Medicine > Clinical
The River of Consciousness Hardcover – 9 Mar 2017
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Reading a book published after its authors death, especially if he is as prodigiously alive on every page as Oliver Sacks, as curious, avid and thrillingly fluent, brings both the joy of hearing from him again, and the regret of knowing it will likely be the last time . . . [The] combination of wonder, passion and gratitude never seemed to flag in Sacks’s life; everything he wrote was lit with it. But it was his openness to new ideas and experiences, and his vision of change as the most human of biological processes that synthesized all of his work (Nicole Krauss The New York Times Book Review)
Millions of Sacks’s books have been printed around the world, and he once spoke of receiving 200 letters a week from admirers. For those thousands of correspondents, The River of Consciousness will feel like a reprieve – we get to spend time again with Sacks the botanist, the historian of science, the marine biologist and, of course, the neurologist (Guardian)
An incisive and generous inquiry into human nature (Elle)
[Sacks’s] accumulated wisdom of our experience of time and consciousness makes a marvellous discrete series of meditations – and a profoundly moving one, since several of these pieces were written with the knowledge that his experience of both mysteries was soon coming to an end (Tim Adams Observer)
Compelling . . . Sacks invites readers into his mind where they can experience the world from his unusually insightful perspective (Science News Magazine)
A fascinating book (Daily Telegraph)
Sacks continues in this latest collection to focus on questions over answers; the result is a work that leaves plenty of room for possibility beyond what might be immediately observed . . . Intellectually, Sacks is, at heart, a philosopher (New York Magazine)
A writer of eloquence, he was always ready to see his medical specialist in reaction to the world and humanity . . . His greatest reverence is for the human mind (The Tablet)
True to its title, the book is dictated by a flood of mental energy, thus it is more than mere sentimentality to say that, more than two years after his death, Sacks’s spirit still courses through us. Long may it flow (The Globe and Mail)
Reveals Sacks as a gleeful polymath and an inveterate seeker of meaning in the mold of Darwin and his other scientific heroes Sigmund Freud and William James . . . As this volume reminds us, in losing Sacks we lost a gifted and generous storyteller (Wall Street Journal)
The River of Consciousness is a remarkable culmination of a lifetime's research into the way the brain works by the celebrated late neurologist Oliver Sacks.See all Product description
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So let’s be honest this is no great or essential addition to Sacks’ impressive body of work. There are plenty of retrospective and biographical accounts from Sacks, about him and his work, many which have been covered elsewhere. There are ten essays here, and it starts off a little sluggish with the opening essay on Darwin, but Sacks soon springs to life with the second one, “Time”. This falls somewhere deliciously between Huxley and Hawking and recalls Sacks at his best.
Elsewhere he explores Freud and in particular his earlier, and largely overlooked work as a neurologist, he also delves heavily into his own studies and experiences, relating a whole number of neurological disorders, fascinating and scary subjects, like the creation of false memories, as he concludes at one point, “All of us transfer experiences to some extent, and at times we are not sure whether an experience was something we were told or read about, even dreamed about, or something that actually happened to us. This is especially apt to happen with one’s so called earliest memories.”
So this is a mixed bag, which is not really surprising. Almost all of these theories, memories and cases have appeared in previous works by Sacks. It occasionally lacks flow and coherence. In saying that there is much to enjoy in here, and although far from essential reading, I would say that this makes for an ideal introduction into the man and is certainly a worthwhile read.
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