Sleeping sickness plagued the world right after the disastrous World War I. Medically termed as encephalitis lethargica, this disease rendered people motionless and speechless for years together. The victims of this merciless disease were left aware but apathetic to the world around them. But that was all only until Dr Sacks administered a newly-found drug called L-DOPA, which enabled them to wake up from their long-lasting slumbers, albeit temporarily.
It is an extraordinary account of 20 patients with the ghastly sleeping sickness that has been chronicled in the book Awakenings by Dr Oliver Sacks himself. All the twenty patients described in this text had been rendered catatonic for 40 years long years. The patients have spent these years away from home, in the hospital. In this non-fictional read, the author relates in detail the efforts he put in, in the late 1960’s, to awaken all these patients housed at the Beth Abraham Hospital in New York.
Hailed as ‘a work of genius’ and ‘a collection of astonishing case histories’, this memoir makes you realise that life is living constantly on the knife’s edge and that healing, rather than being a work of science, is an ‘art of wooing nature’
|Awakening (Oliver Sacks)
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