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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Oliver Sacks' books Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars, and the best-selling The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat have been acclaimed for their extraordinary compassion in the treatment of patients affected with profound disorders. In A Leg to Stand On, it is Sacks himself who is the patient: an encounter with a bull on a desolate mountain in Norway has left him with a severely damaged leg. But what should be a routine recuperation is actually the beginning of a strange medical journey when he finds that his leg uncannily no longer feels like part of his body.

Sacks's brilliant description of his crisis and eventual recovery is not only an illuminating examination of the experience of patienthood and the inner nature of illness and health but also a fascinating exploration of the physical basis of identity.

PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.

©1984, 1993 Oliver Sacks (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A neurologist in [the] great tradition... [this is] a narrative comparable to Conrad's The Secret Sharer." (The New York Review of Books)
"In calling for a neurology of the soul and a deeper and more humane medicine, Sacks's remarkable book raises issues of profound importance for everyone interested in humane health care and the human application of science." (The Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Story
  • jeff
  • pickering, ON, Canada
  • 10-29-11

A very rewarding read but Not for everybody.

While this is a fine book with an amazing true story, I feel the need to put out a word of caution. The degree to which sachs goes off on his poetic existential meanderings in this book is excessive . It requires patience and a fair amount of concentration to get through these unfortunately verbose tirades. An editor really should have tightened it up. This book does have a great story and immense insight that should be heard by everyone. It will be of particular value to doctors, nurses and caregivers. I really love sacks work but his verbosity gets to be too much at times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • John S.
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 08-17-11

Not sure what he was trying for here

Audible just brought this one out in audio, a year or so after Sacks' latest "The Mind's Eye"; my library didn't have a print copy of "Leg", so I spent a credit on it. Both books deal with the issue of doctor-as-patient, but this one's less approachable. Once he's rescued in Norway, and sent off to Britain for treatment, the story becomes progressively more inward and self-absorbed. I was interested when he veered towards the mind-body connection in healing, but otherwise his thoughts were just that ... thoughts. Not very focused ones either - not quite metaphysical, not really philosophical, and a little medical stuff thrown in. For Sacks fans only, those new to his stuff would probably never read another.

Narration helped me keep going when the going got kind of tough.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If you plan on being a health care professional

There is so much to gain from the Oliver's stories. For me, Sacks's articulations help me to potentiate and mature my ability to empathize. His description of events also help me comprehend the significance of other peoples personal experiences. This is great book for people walking the path of profound maturity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Oliver is a Genius

Makes you a genius if you listen or at least feels that way. All his books are my favorite ever!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Was disappointed

I thought the performance was great and engaging. And for being in the medical field, a physical therapist, I think it does a great job of showing how this our medical. However for being a story about the doctor he seemed really aloof and everything seemed really dramatic. It was difficult to stay focused a lot, for me.

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  • Story

No Legs of Its Own

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Shorten it to two chapters and it will have said it all.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most: Snippets of the history of neurology. Least: the (unusual for Sacks) incessant, off-topic stray into his own tedious emotional outlook on the whole process of injury/shock/acceptance/healing/triumph. It was if he wrote this so his readership could give him free amateur psychotherapy. In the end, this was an unengaging emotion-rich/fact-sparse book about the process of healing up a broken leg. Not a Sack's Best.

What does Jonathan Davis and Oliver Sacks (Introduction) bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Oliver Sacks normally writes a fine, engaging book. This one was such a sleeper though, that at least one didn't have to keep one's eyes open to get through it.

Did A Leg to Stand On inspire you to do anything?

Yes- frequent incursions into falling asleep.

Any additional comments?

I wouldn't judge the whole excellent spectrum of Oliver Sack's excellent books by this one flopper. I'll not give up on purchasing his other audio books, even though iIve also read most of them in print form.

  • Overall
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A lesser book by an excellent author.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Changing the book would mean changing Oliver Sacks, and that would be a very bad idea.

Would you be willing to try another book from Oliver Sacks? Why or why not?

Yes

What about Jonathan Davis and Oliver Sacks (Introduction) ’s performance did you like?

It was very well read.

Could you see A Leg to Stand On being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A book only for Neurologists

The only interesting part was the beginning, up to the point of the doctor's recovery from surgery. From then on, it became boring, listening to the inner thoughts and uncertainties of interest only to students of neurology.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful