The Island of the Colorblind: And, Cycad Island, Volume 15; Volume 95

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1998 - Science - 311 pages
97 Reviews
Oliver Sacks has always been fascinated by islands--their remoteness, their mystery, above all the unique forms of life they harbor. For him, islands conjure up equally the romance of Melville and Stevenson, the adventure of Magellan and Cook, and the scientific wonder of Darwin and Wallace.
Drawn to the tiny Pacific atoll of Pingelap by intriguing reports of an isolated community of islanders born totally color-blind, Sacks finds himself setting up a clinic in a one-room island dispensary, where he listens to these achromatopic islanders describe their colorless world in rich terms of pattern and tone, luminance and shadow. And on Guam, where he goes to investigate the puzzling neurodegenerative paralysis endemic there for a century, he becomes, for a brief time, an island neurologist, making house calls with his colleague John Steele, amid crowing cockerels, cycad jungles, and the remains of a colonial culture.
The islands reawaken Sacks' lifelong passion for botany--in particular, for the primitive cycad trees, whose existence dates back to the Paleozoic--and the cycads are the starting point for an intensely personal reflection on the meaning of islands, the dissemination of species, the genesis of disease, and the nature of deep geologic time. Out of an unexpected journey, Sacks has woven an unforgettable narrative which immerses us in the romance of island life, and shares his own compelling vision of the complexities of being human.

"From the Hardcover edition.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
23
4 stars
33
3 stars
35
2 stars
6
1 star
0

Review: The Island of the Colorblind

User Review  - Goodreads

Islands are unique in many ways. The separation guaranteed by the vastness of the sea ensures subtle changes in the language and culture of the societies inhabiting them and the mainland, even though ... Read full review

Review: The Island of the Colorblind

User Review  - Sajith Kumar - Goodreads

Islands are unique in many ways. The separation guaranteed by the vastness of the sea ensures subtle changes in the language and culture of the societies inhabiting them and the mainland, even though ... Read full review

Contents

Island Hopping
3
Pingelap
28
Pohnpei
58
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1998)

Oliver Sacks was a neurologist, writer, and professor of medicine. Born in London in 1933, he moved to New York City in 1965, where he launched his medical career and began writing case studies of his patients. Called the "poet laureate of medicine" by The New York Times, Sacks is the author of thirteen books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Awakenings, which inspired an Oscar-nominated film and a play by Harold Pinter. He was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for services to medicine. He died in 2015.

Bibliographic information