Uncle Tungsten

Uncle Tungsten Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

Paperback (17 Sep 2002)

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Publisher's Synopsis

From the distinguished neurologist who is also one of the most remarkable storytellers of our time-a riveting memoir of his youth and his love affair with science, as unexpected and fascinating as his celebrated case histories.

"A rare gem…. Fresh, joyous, wistful, generous, and tough-minded." -The New York Times Book Review

Long before Oliver Sacks became the bestselling author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals-also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, Sacks chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.

In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks' extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his "Uncle Tungsten," whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes-in his own home laboratory. Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.

Book information

ISBN: 9780375704048
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 509.2
DEWEY edition: 22
Language: English
Number of pages: 337
Weight: 318g
Height: 210mm
Width: 133mm
Spine width: 19mm