A Leg to Stand on

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Picador, 1991 - Nerves, Peripheral - 191 pages
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‘Sacks has written a book about a leg, his leg; but it is a story about the nature of selfhood – a narrative comparable to Conrad’s The Secret SharerNew York Review of Books

‘Losing the use of a limb is a catastrophe, and it needed a thoughtful essay written about it. This is it. It is more than that. Oliver Sacks is a neurologist of wide lay reading, a man of humane eloquence, a genuine communicator aware of the damnable rift that subsists between doctor and patient. Its value lies in its willingness to combine the technical and the demonic, to admit poetry and philosophy and the religious impulse. It is also intensely personal, but it affirms the community of human experience’ Anthony Burgess, Observer

‘It is in every way a marvellously rich and thoughtful tale. Dr Sacks has, once again, emphatically shown how much there is still to be learned from painstakingly observed and chronicled case history’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Dr Sacks reviews his predicament in exact clinical, emotional and philosophical terms. No one has described that famous condition so well before. A remarkable, generous, vivid and thoroughly intelligent piece of writing’ Sunday Times

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About the author (1991)

Oliver Sacks was born in London, England on July 9, 1933. He received a medical degree from Queen's College, Oxford University and performed his internship at Middlesex Hospital in London and Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. He completed his residency at UCLA. In 1965, he became a clinical neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Beth Abraham Hospital. His work in a Bronx charity hospital led him to write the book Awakenings in 1973. The book inspired a play by Harold Pinter and became a film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. His other works included An Anthropologist on Mars, The Mind's Eye, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Uncle Tungsten, Musicophilia, A Leg to Stand On, On the Move: A Life, and Gratitude. In 2007, he ended his 42-year relationship with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to accept an interdisciplinary teaching position at Columbia. In 2012, he returned to the New York University School of Medicine as a professor of neurology. He died of cancer on August 30, 2015 at the age of 82.

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