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The Kaplans - Al Capp's family


Aubrey Eban's achievements
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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After leaving Cambridge, Aubrey went into the army, and being very fluent in Arabic, he was transferred to the Middle East. He... and then, of course, after the war he became strongly and passionately identified with. .. with Israel, he became the voice of Israel, he was first the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, and later he became Foreign Minister in Israel, and Deputy Prime Minister. And then dropped out of politics completely in, I think, probably in ’67. He... he deeply disapproved of the taking of the West Bank, he thought there would never be any peace or any reconciliation, and in this view he was utterly separated from the government, which wanted to hold onto the West Bank forever and... and Aubrey, basically having achieved, by his ability and eloquence, the... the highest positions, was dropped.

But he then, I think, enjoyed much of the rest of his life as a historian, although he missed the... the cut and parry of debate, or whatever it’s called. He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and I asked him how he was enjoying life there, and he said, 'I pine for the arena'. The arena. He... he was wonderful, he was a wonderful gladiator in the arena, he could... invariably courteous, however murderous, though... though I don’t think ‘murderous’ is the right word, but his eloquence could have caused his assassination. He... he was a very remarkable man and I’m glad that I got to know him in his later years when he would often come to New York and we... we became quite close.


Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was born in England. Having obtained his medical degree at Oxford University, he moved to the USA. There he worked as a consultant neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital where in 1966, he encountered a group of survivors of the global sleepy sickness of 1916-1927. Sacks treated these patients with the then-experimental drug L-Dopa producing astounding results which he described in his book Awakenings. Further cases of neurological disorders were described by Sacks with exceptional sympathy in another major book entitled The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat which became an instant best seller on its publication in 1985. His other books drew on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice. Sacks's work was recognized by prestigious institutions which awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These included the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He was an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and held honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.

Listeners: Kate Edgar

Kate Edgar, previously Managing Editor at the Summit Books division of Simon and Schuster, began working with Oliver Sacks in 1983. She has served as editor and researcher on all of his books, and has been closely involved with various films and adaptations based on his work. As friend, assistant, and collaborator, she has accompanied Dr Sacks on many adventures around the world, clinical and otherwise.

Tags: Israel, West Bank, Middle East, Aubrey Eban

Duration: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012