Leg to Stand On

A-Leg-To-Stand-OnA Leg to Stand On (1984)
Paperback, Touchstone Books, ISBN 0-684-85395-7

Here the doctor becomes a patient, as Dr. Sacks chronicles the mountaineering accident which left him with the uncanny feeling of being “legless,” and raises profound questions of the physical basis of identity.

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In A Leg To Stand On , it is Dr. 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 a part of his body. Sacks’s 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.

Dr. Sacks on Leg:

“Here the roles were reversed and I was the patient myself, bewildered by an experience, a sort of “alienation” of an injured leg, which I could not comprehend or communicated to my doctors. My only relief was to write about it.”

Praise for A Leg to Stand On

“A neurologist in [the] great tradition…[this is] a narrative comparable to Conrad’s The Secret Sharer .”
– Jerome Bruner, The New York Review of Books

“A remarkable, generous, vivid and thoroughly intelligent piece of writing–a ‘neurological novel,’ as Sacks calls it.”
– Jonathan Raban, The Sunday Times (London)

“In calling for a neurology of the soul and a deeper more humane medicine, Sacks’ remarkable book raises issues of profound importance for everyone interested in humane health care and the human application of science.”
– Vic Sussman, The Washington Post Book World

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