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Migraine Paperback – October 5, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written by one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century, Migraine...should be read as much for its brilliant insights into the nature of our mental functioning as for its discussion of the migraine".

-- The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

"Balanced, authoritative . . . brilliant." --"The London Times
"Written by one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century, Migraine . . . should be read as much for its brilliant insights into the nature of our mental functioning as for its discussion of the migraine." --"The New York Times Book Review

The many manifestations of migraine can vary dramatically from one patient to another, even within the same patient at different times. Among the most compelling and perplexing of these symptoms are the strange visual hallucinations and distortions of space, time, and body image which migraineurs sometimes experience. Portrayals of these uncanny states have found their way into many works of art, from the heavenly visions of Hildegard von Bingen to Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Oliver Sacks argues that migraine cannot be understood simply as an illness, but must be viewed as a complex condition with a unique role to play in each individual's life.
"I am sure . . . that any layman who is interested in the relation between the body and mind . . . will find the book as fascinating as I have." --W. H. Auden, "The New York Review of Books

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Rev Exp edition (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037570406X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704062
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

OLIVER SACKS was born in 1933 in London and was educated at the Queen's College, Oxford. He completed his medical training at San Francisco's Mount Zion Hospital and at UCLA before moving to New York, where he soon encountered the patients whom he would write about in his book Awakenings.

Dr. Sacks spent almost fifty years working as a neurologist and wrote a number of books--including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Hallucinations--about the strange neurological predicaments and conditions of his patients. The New York Times referred to him as "the poet laureate of medicine," and he received many awards, including honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal College of Physicians. His memoir, On the Move, was published shortly before his death in August 2015.

Sacks' work has inspired many adaptations, including the Oscar-nominated film of Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, a play by Harold Pinter, and several works by Peter Brook.

Gratitude will be published on November 24, 2015.

For more information, please visit www.oliversacks.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Run, don't walk, to get this book, if you or anyone you know suffers from migraine. By a terrific doctor who is a migraine sufferer himself, you will be amazed at how many symptoms a migraineur can have that are not even a headache.
This is a widely misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated malady and sufferers need to be INFORMED about what is happening to them and why it is happening. Save yourself lots of grief and pain, read this book and you will be well armed in your fight for relief from this horrible malady.
I'm updating this review due to some of the unbelievably idiotic negative reviews some have given this book, one who admits they haven't even read it! After reading this book several years ago and most anything else published on migraine since, I can still say this is the book that is an absolute "Must Read" for any migraineur. You can't properly seek treatment until you understand what migraine actually is, not a 'headache' but a neurological disease, and this book will arm you with the most important weapon there is - correct information!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are migraines curable? Mine are gone. And during the time when they were at their worst, this book by Oliver Sacks was my salvation, my companion, and my way of coping. Information about the symptoms of migraine was invaluable to me; aspects of my health that had baffled, frightened and defeated me were explained here in ways that I could comprehend. Migraines left me, apparently forever, several years ago, and I'm convinced that this book was instrumental in that. The more I read, the more I understood, the easier it was for me to deal with the problem. Oliver Sacks is a healer, and this book was a healing experience for me. Highly recommended. I recommend for all migraine sufferers that they explore this. And of course, the book is beautifully written as are all Oliver Sacks' books. His contribution to health care and health study in our time is immense -- beyond calculation. --- In response to other reviews posted here, let me suggest that there are many things migraine sufferers can do which might help them. To say simply that migraine is incurable, that it's genetic -- that perhaps invites a pessimism about the problem which does not serve the people experiencing this pain. This is a great book.
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Format: Paperback
After my migraines greatly escalated in frequency over the past year, I decided that it would be wise to get more information, hence the reading of this classic. First published in 1970, and revised in 1985 and 1992, Migraine contains a wealth of facts, case studies, ideas, and speculation relating to the complex, elusive phenomenon of migraine. Perhaps I should say 'phenomena', since no two migraines seem to be the same. Dr. Sacks has treated over 1000 migraineurs, and appears to have read and studied everything, ancient and modern, relating to migraine. I learned a tremendous amount about what afflicts me by reading this book, and I also unlearned some of what I thought I knew, such as that migraine aura is caused by a vasoconstriction, which is followed by a pain-producing vasodilatation (i.e. the discredited vasomotor theory of migraine). But, as with any good book written by an inspired, thoughtful author, Migraine is about much more than its principle subject. Dr. Sacks is so well read and so fundamentally curious and enthralled by the universe he finds himself in, that the reader cannot help but be sucked along in his jet stream, learning about such things as the visions of Hildegard of Bingen, Dostoyevsky's epileptic ecstasies, Novalis' dictum 'every disease is a musical problem; every cure a musical solution', as well as chaos theory and self-organising systems. I found the only weak chapter to be the one entitled 'Psychological Approaches to Migraine'. It would be better entitled 'Psycho-analytical Approaches to Migraine' since in it Dr. Sacks seems to accept and promote the most bizarre and outrageous of the unscientific ravings of the 'Viennese witch doctor'. Oh well.Read more ›
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I read this book a few years ago when my irregular migraine attacks had become more frequent. I had them from about age 15 until now, for the first decades maybe once or twice per year, then for a while more often, now less often and less severe. It took me decades to have a name for this thing at all. I have moved about so often that I never saw one medical doctor often enough to get so specific and scientific as to find names for afflictions.
I discovered this Sacks book on migraines when I read his Hat book. Sacks helped me to understand my problem. Most impressed was I by artistic renderings of the aura, which is the most scary phenomenon, as long as you don't know a name for it.
Understanding the problem does not do away with it, but you develop a rational attitude. I know now that it comes when it comes, that no special drug helps against it, that strong painkillers reduce the problem. I had some accupuncture treatments and now it still comes, but the individual attacks are milder, I can usually function like nearly normal as soon as the aura is over, which lasts rarely longer than half an hour. Formerly I would sometimes be out of action for a whole day.
I still hate noise and light like hell for hours afterwards.
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