From Publishers Weekly
A surgeon's memory goes blank during an operation and he can't remember whether he removed a gallbladder; a woman has mind-splitting headaches whenever she has an orgasm; a Nazi concentration-camp survivor who drags his legs in an odd, circular motion has his defective gait traced to his prison diet. These patients of Klawans all suffer from rare neurological disorders. And the cases become even stranger. There's the rugged bank president who can't shave half his face due to trigeminal neuralgia. Then there are historic, noteworthy or speculative cases: Toscanini, whose stumbling on the podium may have resulted from a momentary halt of blood supply to his brain; women in colonial New England, possibly victims of Huntington's chorea, put to death for witchcraft; basketball center Bill Smonovich whose career was cut short by acromegaly (abnormal enlargement of bodily extremities). Klawans, a Chicago neurologist and author of three novels, has produced a compulsively readable, enlightening probe of what can go wrong with the brain and how medical science copes.