Media Center: 'Hallucinations' by Oliver Sacks
Published by Knopf November 6, 2012
Author tour to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
“A fascinating exploration of neuropsychiatric weirdness
“We think of seeing—or hearing, smelling, touching or inchoately sensing—things that aren’t there as a classic sign of madness, but it’s really a human commonplace.
“Acclaimed neurologist Oliver Sacks investigates a wide range of hallucinations, from the geometric zigzags of some migraines and the painful cramps of phantom limbs to florid multicharacter melodramas, grotesque phantasms, and mystic trances induced by brain disorders and drugs. He also studies how people live with their hallucinations; some recognize them as just diverting figments while for others they constitute an inescapable unreality as malevolent and terrifying as a horror movie. (Sacks amply recounts his own entertaining hallucinations, including a drug-induced encounter with a spider who talked to him about Bertrand Russell.)
“As always, Sacks approaches the topic as both a brain scientist and a humanist; he shows how hallucinations elucidate intricate neurological mechanisms—often they are the brain’s bizarre attempt to fill in for missing sensory input—and examines their imprint on folklore and culture. Writing with his trademark mix of evocative description, probing curiosity, and warm empathy, Sacks once again draws back the curtain on the mind’s improbable workings.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY in a featured starred review
“Another gem of a book.
“With a fine sense of narrative, Sacks deftly integrates literature, art, and medical history around his very human, often riveting, case histories. This book is recommended for all readers, not just those with symptoms! This is a model of humane science made compellingly readable.”
—James Lieberman in a starred review for LIBRARY JOURNAL
“A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.”
“Sacks defines the best of medical writing.” —Ray Olson, BOOKLIST
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