An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

  • Publish Date: 1995-02-07
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Oliver Sacks
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Knopf
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The author of Awakenings profiles seven neurological patients, including a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome and an artist whose color sense is destroyed in an accident but finds new creative power in black and white. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. Tour. The works of neurologist Oliver Sacks have a special place in the swarm of mind-brain studies. He has done as much as anyone to make nonspecialists aware of how much diversity gets lumped under the heading of "the human mind."

The stories in An Anthropologist on Mars are medical case reports not unlike the classic tales of Berton Rouech in The Medical Detectives. Sacks's stories are of "differently brained" people, and they have the intrinsic human interest that spurred his book Awakenings to be re-created as a Robin Williams movie.

The title story in Anthropologist is that of autistic Temple Grandin, whose own book Thinking in Pictures gives her version of how she feels--as unlike other humans as a cow or a Martian. The other minds Sacks describes are equally remarkable: a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a painter who loses color vision, a blind man given the ambiguous gift of sight, artists with memories that overwhelm "real life," the autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire, and a man with memory damage for whom it is always 1968.

Oliver Sacks is the Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould of his field; his books are true classics of medical writing, of the breadth of human mentality, and of the inner lives of the disabled. --Mary Ellen Curtin

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