On the Move: A Life

On the Move: A Life

Oliver Sacks

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0804170932

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


New York Times Notable Book

One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, San Francisco ChronicleSt. Louis Post-DispatchBookPageSlateMen’s Journal

When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote: “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.” It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. With unbridled honesty and humor, Sacks writes about the passions that have driven his life—from motorcycles and weight lifting to neurology and poetry. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists—W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick—who have influenced his work. On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer, a man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.  

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I would be able to advise and consult, to ensure medical and historical accuracy; I would do my best to give the film an authentic point of departure, but I would not have to feel responsible for it.7 — Robert De Niro’s passion to understand what he is going to portray, to research it in microscopic detail, is legendary. I had never before witnessed an actor’s investigation of his subject—the investigation that would finally culminate in the actor’s becoming his subject. By 1989, nearly all

actors pass muster? There was a feeling of awe on the set as she entered; everyone recognized her from the documentary. I wrote in my journal that night: However much the actors immerse themselves, identify, they are merely playing the part of a patient; Lillian has to be one for the rest of her life. They can slip out of their roles, she cannot. How does she feel about this? (How do I feel about Robin playing me? A temporary role for him, but lifelong for me.) As Bob is wheeled in and takes

feature film, along with the miles of Super 8 film and audiotape which I had recorded myself in 1969 and 1970. The documentary had never been broadcast outside the U.K., and the release of the Hollywood film seemed an ideal time to offer it to PBS. But Columbia Pictures insisted that we not do this; it thought it might distract from the “authenticity” of the feature film, an absurd idea. 8. This reminded me of how, a couple of years earlier, I had had a visit from Dustin Hoffman, who was

its sound, pondering on noises which were sinister but unintelligible. It was disintegrating fast, this much was certain; but, ignorant and fatalistic, I felt I could do nothing to arrest its fate. Five miles beyond Tuscaloosa the engine faltered and seized. I grabbed the clutch, but one of the cylinders was already smoking by my foot. I dismounted and laid the bike out flat upon the ground. Then I advanced towards the roadside, holding a clean white handkerchief in my left hand. The sun was

was in contradiction to concepts of neuroanatomy in the 1960s, a neuroanatomy that saw the motor, the intellectual, and the affective in quite separate and noncommunicating compartments of the brain. The anatomist in me, subservient to this notion, said, “This can’t be. Such an ‘awakening’ should not happen.” But clearly it was happening. The Drug Enforcement Administration wanted me to fill out standardized inventories of symptoms and responses to the drug, but what was going on was so complex

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