Book review: Hallucinations, By Oliver Sacks


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The Independent Culture

Who knew that our favourite avuncular neurologist used to be the biggest dopehead in mid-1960s California?

Discreetly tucked into this beguiling package of case histories about every variety of hallucination - phantom limbs to ghosts and voices - is Sacks's report on his drug use while a young doctor.

The voracious experimenter even mixed his own cocktail, a "pharmacologic launchpad".

What brought him back to earth? Bad trips, yes, but also the discovery that sharing his clinical expertise in words delivered the best high.