A Leg to Stand On

A Leg to Stand On

by Oliver Sacks


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Dr. Oliver Sacks's books Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars and the bestselling 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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684853956
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 04/29/1998
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 456,167
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Oliver Sacks was born in London and educated in London, Oxford, California, and New York. He is professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is the author of many books, including Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

London, England


B.M., B.Ch., Queen's College, Oxford, 1958

Table of Contents



One The Mountain

Two Becoming A Patient

Three Limbo

Four Quickening

Five Solvitur Ambulando

Six Convalescence

Seven Understanding

Afterword (1993)

Annotated Bibliography

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A Leg to Stand On 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who doesn't like this book just 'doesn't get it.' This is a brilliant look at awareness and the interconnectedness of body and mind. There is no other writer of neuroscience topics who so grasps all that goes into consciousness as does Oliver Sacks. He has a genius of seeing. And what a writer! How I would love to meet him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very candid and indepth account of Dr. Sacks experience with a serious leg injury and with his physical 'alienation' of the leg and journey through the patient's world of helplessness and despair to rejoining the world of the whole and healthy. He leaves out no thought or feeling; neurotic turns, ugly jealousy of the whole in body; all is revealed and shared in a spirit of empathy and acceptance of a journey he can share with others. A solid and charming journal and wealth of contemplation on the variety of states of health and well-being.
wester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very personal book, about Sacks' experience as a patient when he severely injures a leg, and then finds that there is no place in medicine for the alienation from the leg he feels. Sometimes the language gets a bit flowery, but altogether I found this an impressive book.
xtien on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An account of Sacks's quadriceps being torn off, and his subsequent losing the whole leg. That is, he's not aware of the leg and he doesn't remember that he ever had one. To his doctors, this is new, but he finds that most other patients in similar conditions experience "forgetting" the part of their body that is hurt, cast in chalk, or otherwise immobilized. His writing down the experience makes suergeons aware of the issue, and hopefully today a patient gets more help in how to "find back" their "lost" limb.Sacks tore of his quadriceps while fleeing for a bull on a mountain he was climbing, or rather, walking. I'd say a bull won't hurt you if you stumble upon it while it is laying down, and you don't scare it. I suppose there was no reason for Sacks to run away in the first place. I'm sorry for his injuries, but I'm glad he did run away because it gave us this magnificent book :-)
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not, in my opinion, one of Sacks' better books. An earlier work, and told from his point of view for the most part, I found the writing style so florid as to be virtually unreadable. The later chapters get better, but mostly because he's stopped talking about his experience and has returned to what he does so well - tell case histories. The experience he had was fascinating, I just wish he had been less effusive in his attempt to communicate it! Recommended for hard core Sacks fans only.