“Illuminate[s] the complexities of the human brain and the mysteries of the human mind.” —The New York Times
To many people, hallucinations imply madness, but in fact they are a common part of the human experience. These sensory distortions range from the shimmering zigzags of a visual migraine to powerful visions brought on by fever, injuries, drugs, sensory deprivation, exhaustion, or even grief. Hallucinations doubtless lie behind many mythological traditions, literary inventions, and religious epiphanies.
Drawing on his own experiences, a wealth of clinical cases from among his patients, and famous historical examples ranging from Dostoevsky to Lewis Carroll, the legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks investigates the mystery of these sensory deceptions: what they say about the working of our brains, how they have influenced our folklore and culture, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.
Olive Sacks sets himself a challenging task in his latest book: to explore the full range of human hallucinations, those figments of the imagination that terrify, madden, comfort, or merely entertain. Drawing on famous cases, from Joan of Arc to Dostoyevski, Sacks charts a diverse and pervasive phenomenon, one rich in colorful examples caused by trauma, drugs, illnesses, the mind's deterioration, or boredom and the absence of stimuli. The scope of human hallucinations Sacks presents is staggering for its range, myriad causes, and levels of severity. Some hallucinations are little more than distractions: an imagined song in place of silence, a conversation with an absent friend, a light sense of d j vu. For others hallucinations create the fabric of the world in which they live, with the often-frightening images overwhelming reality. The solid performance of Dan Woren, whose business-like narration is the one constant throughout, keeps the listener grounded even during the book's most fantastic passages. Woren offers a brisk reading that when paired with the author's elegant prose guides listeners safely on a long and surreal journey through fantasy and nightmare. A Knopf hardcover.
I found it interesting, and a little disturbing, how many different ways people can hallucinate without being mentally ill. The author is a little heavy on the jargon. I used the dictionary a lot while reading this book.
Entertaining, well-written and thought provoking
I can't praise this book enough. I really enjoyed it.
Book has multiple page editing and formatting issues
I was really looking forward to reading this book as I am a big fan of Oliver Sachs.
However, the digital formatting is horrible!! I'm missing chapter 1 in its entirety and multiple chapters are truncated followed by error messages on the pages. Capital letters do not align properly with the page and words float on top of one another. I am left wondering which half of the book I actually purchased and what half I am missing!
I would NOT recommend buying this book as a download until the EDITOR devotes a little time to formatting the book appropriately for digital download.
I am only giving this edition two thumbs down because of the Editor and Company's sloppiness. Oliver Sachs deserves better!