If you enjoy medical case histories that are sensitive yet lively, weird but informative, then Sacks' book is your ticket.
A neurologist who writes with wit and zest, he will fascinate you with stories of patients like the man in the title--a professor who couldn't recognize faces and who patted the tops of fire hydrants believing them to be children. Nietschze asked whether we could do without disease in our lives and the author explores this interesting concept with a rare and invigorating philosophic sense. Sacks is no ordinary practitioner; his patients suffer from rare complaints like Korshakov's syndrome, Tourette's and other afflictions, some of which make the patient unsure of the reality of his own body. Their tragedies and their courage are joined with the author's astute professionalism and humanity to make for a riveting foray into the unknown. The history of these strange cases and the state of the art of medicine are deftly probed. Yet in the midst of all this tragedy, there is an eerie comic quality. Take the 80-year-old ex-prostitute who discovers a new liveliness and euphoria, which she enjoys immensely. However, the reason for this is a recurrence of an old syphilis infection. Does she want to be totally cured and lose this new found ebullience? Not really. She relishes "Cupid's disease's" strange excitation of her cerebral cortex too much. To Sacks' credit, he agrees with her.
This book ranks with the very best of its genre. It will inform and entertain anyone, especially those who find medicine an intriguing and mysterious art.