Body Silent: The Different World of the Disabled

Overview

"The most powerful book of its kind I've ever read.... Extraordinary powers of observation, generalization, and depth."—Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat
Winner of the Columbia University Lionel Trilling Award. Robert Murphy was in the prime of his career as an anthropologist when he felt the first symptom of a malady that would ultimately take him on an odyssey stranger than any field trip to the Amazon: a tumor of the spinal cord that progressed slowly and irreversibly into ...

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Overview

"The most powerful book of its kind I've ever read.... Extraordinary powers of observation, generalization, and depth."—Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat
Winner of the Columbia University Lionel Trilling Award. Robert Murphy was in the prime of his career as an anthropologist when he felt the first symptom of a malady that would ultimately take him on an odyssey stranger than any field trip to the Amazon: a tumor of the spinal cord that progressed slowly and irreversibly into quadriplegia. In this gripping account, Murphy explores society's fears, myths, and misunderstandings about disability, and the damage they inflict. He reports how paralysis—like all disabilities—assaults people's identity, social standing, and ties with others, while at the same time making the love of life burn even more fiercely.

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Editorial Reviews

Oliver Sacks
The most powerful book of its kind I've ever read.... Extraordinary powers of observation, generalization, and depth.
L. Daniel Myers
[Murphy's] contributions to the popular literature of the disabled will surely rank among the highest to date. —American Anthropologist
Library Journal
The author, a well-known cultural and field anthropologist at Columbia University, was diagnosed as having an incurable spinal cord tumor in 1976 at age 52. He is now essentially paralyzed from the neck down. Within this frameworkin which his physical self of locomotion and effect loses all functionhe relates his own odyssey into ``selfhood and sentiment.'' Far more than a bittersweet first-person account of chronic illness, this is a masterfully written examination of the role of the disabled in society. The author draws upon the relevant literature, history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology as a basis for his views and his means of coping. This powerful and eye-opening commentary is highly recommended for social scientists, health care personnel, and informed and interested laypersons. Mark L. Dembert, M.D., Navy Environmental Health Ctr., Norfolk, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393320428
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: (Reissue)
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 955,219
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert F. Murphy (1924-1990) was professor of anthropology at Columbia University and the author of many articles and books.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Prologue—Night Sounds

I. In the Beginning

Signs and Symptoms

The Road to Entropy

The Return

II. Body, Self, and Society

The Damaged Self

Encounters

The Struggle for Autonomy

III. On Living

The Deepening Silence

Love and Dependency

There's No Cure for Life

Notes

Bibliography

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