Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacksis a 337-page softcover published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2001. The previous owner's name is written in ink on the front end page. There are a couple dog eared pages.
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals--also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.
We meet Sack's extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his "Uncle Tungsten," whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets out passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes--in his own home laboratory. By turns elegiac and comic, Uncle Tungsten is the story of a brilliant young mind springing to life.ISBN: 0-375-7044-3