An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

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Knopf, 1995 - Science - 327 pages
13 Reviews
Neurological patients, Oliver Sacks once wrote, are travellers to unimaginable lands. An Anthropologist on Mars offers portraits of seven such travellers - 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. These are paradoxical tales, for neurological disease can conduct one to other modes of being that - however abnormal they may be to our way of thinking - may develop virtues and beauties of their own. The exploration of these individual lives is not one that can be made in a consulting room or office, and Sacks has taken off his white coat and deserted the hospital, by and large, to join his subjects in their own environments. He feels, he says, in part like a neuroanthropologist, but most of all like a physician, called here and there to make house calls, house calls at the far border of experience. Along the way, he shows us a new perspective on the way our brains construct our individual worlds. In his lucid and compelling reconstructions of the mental acts we take for granted - the act of seeing, the transport of memory, the notion of color - Oliver Sacks provokes anew a sense of wonder at who we are.

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Review: An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

User Review  - Pippa222 - Goodreads

I LOVE Oliver Sacks. He is not just an intelligent writer, but a wise one. These case studies are really inspiring and show what people can do even if they have disabilities which would seem overwhelming to us. Read full review

Review: An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

User Review  - Dee - Goodreads

I just saw the movie "the music never stopped". which adaptation (by Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks) of "The Last Hippie", a short story/essay in this book. I enjoyed the movie, so decided to read the ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

Oliver Wolf Sacks is a neurologist and writer. He was born in London, England on July 9, 1933. Sacks earned his medical degree at 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, Sacks became a clinical neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Beth Abraham Hospital. He also worked with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Sacks' 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. Sacks was also elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also wrote Mind's Eye which made The NewYork Times Bestseller list for 2010.

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