A Leg to Stand On

Sacks, Oliver

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Autobiography

Annotated by:
Willms, Janice
  • Date of entry: Dec-18-1997
  • Last revised: Aug-30-2006


This is a story of injury in the midst of exuberant good health, followed by a progressively darkening journey. The writer experiences a period of isolation from normal life by his hospitalization, isolation from a part of his body by neurosensory damage to the injured leg, isolation from the security of medical colleagues by their insensitivity to his anguish. Sacks reaches a psychological nadir before beginning his return. He chronicles, retrospectively, the stages of this trip. As in the classical journey myths, the traveler returns with new insight and an altered vision of the meaning of disease.


Because of his dual role as physician and patient, as well as his deep concern for the welfare of afflicted humans, Sacks’ study of his own experiences with disease and the care system is doubly provocative. He ask sufferers to consider his experience in interpretation of their own; he asks physician colleagues to consider his experiences when listening to and treating their patients.


Harper Collins

Place Published

New York



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