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Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood Paperback – September 17, 2002
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From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
“This book underlies everything else Dr. Sacks has written, and is worthy to stand with the great scientific memoirs, for it’s passion, its insight, its sense of history and its felicity.” –Paul Theroux
“Fired by Sacks’s enthusiasm–obviously genuine, impossible to feign–bursting forth in all directions. . . .The book recounts the growth of a formidable young mind opening up to the order and beauty of the material world.” –Newsday
“Sack’s study of a mind [is] as tough as tungsten, as fluid as mercury . . . as precious as gold.” –The Seattle Times
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (September 17, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0375704043
- ISBN-13 : 978-0375704048
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #84,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I can understand why the casual reader would object to the detail that Dr. Sachs uses in his narrative. I probably requires some insight into the history of experimental science to appreciate the story. I am fortunate in having such knowledge and thoroughly enjoyed the book.. It is not a book that can be understood by many without a science background. I giver the book five stars for my own selfish reasons.
Top reviews from other countries
Young Oliver had an extended family full of many unusual characters including the eponomous "uncle tungsten" - his Uncle who ran a light bulb manufacturing plant, and was a mine of information about chemistry. another uncle was a Physicist and introduced Oliver to many of the wonders of science and nature.
The book traces the historical origins of Chemistry, interwoven with Olivers own discovery of Science set against a background of impending war in Europe in the late 1930's.
Oliver Sachs eventually went on the become a "celebrity" Neurologist & author in the U.S. but it is clear from this book that he retains many profoundly moving and exciting memories of a childhood in Britain learning the wonders of Chemistry.
Also, this was a 2nd-hand hardback copy sent over from the USA, which I had bought as a gift, having read it myself a few years back. I was struck by how much better quality the US version was, compared to the UK hardback version I had bought for myself. I'm told by a retired publisher that this is normal, and is a result of the economics of larger print runs enabling more money to be spent on design. The paper was better quality and the print, although slightly smaller, was sharper and eaier to read.
The down-side to getting it from the States though - apart from different spelligns of course - is that it took 3 weeks to arrive. They did say that's how long it could take so I can't complain, and I would definitly consider buying books from the States again.
I think this is a brilliant book having read it on Audible a year ago... Now I have it in print I can read all the additional notes to the story.
Oliver sacks was an amazing man.