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Publisher's Summary

Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, this is a fascinating voyage into a strange and wonderful land, a provocative meditation on communication, biology, adaptation, and culture. In Seeing Voices, Oliver Sacks turns his attention to the subject of deafness, and the result is a deeply felt portrait of a minority struggling for recognition and respect - a minority with its own rich, sometimes astonishing, culture and unique visual language, an extraordinary mode of communication that tells us much about the basis of language in hearing people as well. Seeing Voices is, as Studs Terkel has written, "an exquisite, as well as revelatory, work".
PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.
©1989, 1990 Oliver Sacks (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"This book will shake your preconceptions about the deaf, about language and about thought…. Sacks [is] one of the finest and most thoughtful writers of our time." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Fascinating and richly rewarding…. Sacks is a profoundly wise observer." (The Plain Dealer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Douglas on 11-27-12

A Rich Experience

What I expected when I purchased this book was what one usually gets in an Oliver Sacks book: a neurological examination of a form of perception. In fact, I thought it was a book about synesthesia (especially given the title). It is, rather, a rich and detailed history of the treatment (and, far too often mistreatment) of deafness in the Western world. I highly recommend this book not only for fans of Oliver Sacks who will enjoy this change of pace from this usual fare (which is, I must insist, itself quite good on the whole) but also for those who wish to understand the richness and challenges of the deaf community and the challenges that have faced them in Western culture for the past four hundred years.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Polyhymnia on 02-27-12

Fascinating Brain Science

From the author who has written many other books on the brain, this book is about how pre-lingual deafness differs from those who learned a spoken language before they lost their ability to hear. The connections of language to thought, the mis-assumptions of hearing people and the impact of using sign language has on the brain are wrapped together in a free-flowing, almost stream of consciousness. There were some bits that were technical enough so that I would like to re-read them. Most, however, was very understandable by the amateur.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Mr. M. G. Helliwell on 09-20-16

Didn't enjoy it as much as his other books

I didn't like this as much as his other books I've read, I don't know if it was because it was an audio book or if it was the book itself. The subject matter was interesting but suffered from a couple of things:
1. A lack of examples. When talking about the spatial grammar of sign, for example, it would've been really helpful to have a description of some of the features so I can visualise them.
2. It was just too wordy in parts. There was an excess of adjectives.

The narration was ok, but it sometimes felt like the narrator was quoting passages rather than reading a book.

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