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Awakenings [Audio Cassette]

Oliver W. Sacks
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged CDN $13.13  
Audio, Cassette, December 1987 --  

Book Description

December 1987
Awakenings - which inspired the major motion picture - is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world.
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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From Amazon

It hardly seems fair that so many great doctors are also great writers. Perhaps it's qualities like sensitivity, craft, and dedication that keep physicians like Oliver Sacks in hospitals all day and at writing desks all night; if nothing else, these qualities shine in books like Awakenings. This powerful set of case histories rises above its pathological foundation to find new literary territory, a medical-spiritual synthesis equally stimulating for the mind and the soul. It's no wonder Hollywood producers chose to turn it into a feature film--anyone can see the universal human struggle against bondage and despair in these pages.

The sleeping-sickness epidemic of 1918 caused hundreds of survivors to slip into a bizarre rigid paralysis with similarities to advanced Parkinson's disease. These patients, only occasionally able to communicate or move, were nearly all institutionalized for life, their ranks increasing every now and then with similarly afflicted men and women. Sacks came to work at a long-term care facility shortly before the first exciting results with L-dopa and Parkinson's in the late 1960s; his patients soon embarked on dramatic, difficult recoveries from up to 50 years of torpor. He documents their spiritual and medical obstacles with great care to portray their individual personalities, long suppressed but finally released. Though many great doctors are also great writers, few can compare with Oliver Sacks for expressing the relation of medicine to the human spirit. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"One of the most beautifully composed and moving works of our time." --"The Washington Post
""Compulsively readable. . . . Dr. Sacks writes beautifully and with exceptional subtlety and penetration into both the state of mind of his patients and the nature of illness generally. . . . A brilliant and humane book." --A. Alvarez, "The Observer"
"[Sacks] opens to the reader doors of perception generally passed through only by those at the far borders of human experience." --"The Boston Globe
""A masterpiece." --W. H. Auden --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling documentation May 3 2004
Format:Paperback
One of the things I find most striking about Oliver Sacks is his humanity. I find myself instilled with his sense of compassion and understanding by reading his cases.
Awakenings succeeds at being accessible to both the layperson and professional, and captivating both. There is a glossary to familiarize yourself with neurological terminology, but again the book isn't overtly prolix; rather a gripping account of neurological maladies.
Through Mr.Sack's these patients have received a certain immortality; a sense that their suffering has not been in vain, but tremendously valuable, not only to the advancement of neurology but as testament to the inherent strength and resolve in us all.
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By S. Hung
Format:Paperback
If I had never read "The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" before this book (both by the same author), I would have rated this as a five-star classic. Though as well written as the other work, this book presents his studies in a less humane, and more scientific way. Read the other work and one will sense the noticeable difference in the way that Dr. Sacks approached his patients. When reading the "Awakenings", I felt as a detached bystander looking through the windows of his clinic and observing the patients. When reading "The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat", I was so engaged by Dr. Sacks vivid descriptions of the patients, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, that it was as if I was face-to-face with the patients, and that I was connected in some intrinsic way to each and every one of them. Please please read the other work as well as this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect the movie Feb. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
This is the true story of a group of very sick people permanently living in a hospital. They have an amazing semi-recovery due to some drug experimentation, but there is no lasting or long-term recovery.
Unlike the movie, there is no love story, and the Leonard character is not a lovable hero. But the book is well written, and the medical ramifications are clearly explained for the lay-person.
I recommend this, and all of Oliver Sacks' books, highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, though confusing Nov. 18 2001
Format:Paperback
though this book can get extremely confusing at some times, it is well worth both the money, and your time. a true story, and an amazing one at that, it makes it all the more of an incredible read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic May 14 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The 20th Century has ended, and we can look back on this famous classic with perhaps a better perspective. It in its own way has moved mountains of ignorance. It brought life to not only the patients in the book, but millions of neurologically impared patients in the world. It explained, along with the great movie 'Awakenings', how one could live but not really have complete life. This is a tragedy the medical profession must continue to confront with better research and treatment. Oliver Sacks originally wanted to be a researcher, but it was not in his destiny. What he became, as documented in this book, was a unique facilitator of science. He became a truly unique being that has blessed our humanity.
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