Penn State

Xuemei Huang - associate professor of neurology, Penn State College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Book Title: Awakenings

Author: Oliver Sacks

Book Description:

Oliver Sacks’ Awakenings recounts the author's experience as a neurologist working in institutions that housed individuals who had been inflicted with profound brain disorders as a result of an encephalitis pandemic that occurred in the early twentieth century. The volume appeals in many ways, and will be appreciated differently depending on the reader’s background. This book is above all personal. Sacks draws the reader into the worlds of patients whose lives were turned upside down by illness, and does so in an enthralling fashion. For health professionals, the story underscores the rewards, challenges, and heartbreak that are part of being a dedicated physician. For experts in neurology, pharmacology, and brain disorders, there is an overlay of scientific history as more recent versions provide an updated view of scientific history that Sacks was living when the book was written. From each of these perspectives, this book will touch the reader and offer insights as useful today as when the first edition appeared three decades ago. The only caution is that some readers may find the beginning slow going as they familiarize themselves with some medical terms that are recurrent through the book. It is, however, well worth the effort.


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