• by Oliver Sacks
  • Narrated by Oliver Sacks, Jonathan Davis
  • 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Awakenings - which inspired the major motion picture - is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world.
PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.


What the Critics Say

"One of the most beautifully composed and moving works of our time." (The Washington Post)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not at all too technical

in response to a negative review that this book didn't work in audio
i cannot agree
the terminology shouldn't cause a problem to most people considering this type of book.
There is repetition due to this being a study of many cases of the same disorder but that just allows one to gain a deeper understanding
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- Austin

Too medically technical for an audio book

The world wide epidemic after the First World War of encephalitis lethargica, commonly known as sleepy sickness, was a fascinating puzzle for those interested in neurology and brain chemistry and a terrible experience for the sufferers and their families. Many patients died relatively quickly but some patients were in a semi-unconscious state for decades. This book charts the life histories of a series of patients treated by the author starting in the early sixties some of whom were initially miraculously transformed by L-Dopa administration. The initial promise that this neurotransmitter precursor could reverse the complete shut-down of some patients was short-lived as many developed severe side effects.

I haven't given this book a high rating as I don't think it works as an audio book. The author peppers the book with medical terms that most non-medics will find perplexing. I have a brain research background but found that after the first few descriptions of patient histories the narrative became repetitive and I felt I was listening to a continuous series of case conferences.

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- Kirstine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-10-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios