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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity Kindle Edition
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"Ambitious, meticulous and largehearted history...NeuroTribes is beautifully told, humanizing, important."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Mr. Silberman has surely written the definitive book about [autism’s] past."
“A comprehensive history of the science and culture surrounding autism studies…an essential resource.” –Nature magazine
“NeuroTribes is a sweeping and penetrating history, presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity. It is fascinating reading; it will change how you think of autism, and it belongs, alongside the works of Temple Grandin and Clara Claiborne Park, on the bookshelf of anyone interested in autism and the workings of the human brain.”
--From the foreword by Oliver Sacks, author of An Anthropologist On Mars and Awakenings
“Breathtaking… as emotionally resonant as any [book] this year." –The Boston Globe
“A lively, readable book… To read NeuroTribes is to realize how much autistic people have enriched the scope of human knowledge and diversity, and how impoverished the world would be without them.” –The San Francisco Chronicle
“It is a beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted book, a historical tour of autism, richly populated with fascinating and engaging characters, and a rallying call to respect difference.” – Science magazine
“Epic and often shocking…Everyone with an interest in the history of science and medicine — how it has failed us, surprised us and benefited us — should read this book.” –Chicago Tribune
“The best book you can read to understand autism" –Gizmodo
“Required reading for every parent, teacher, therapist, and person who wants to know more about autism” –Parents.com
"This is perhaps the most significant history of the discovery, changing conception and public reaction to autism we will see in a generation." –TASH.org
“A well-researched, readable report on the treatment of autism that explores its history and proposes significant changes for its future…In the foreword, Oliver Sacks writes that this 'sweeping and penetrating history…is fascinating reading' that 'will change how you think of autism.' No argument with that assessment." –Kirkus Reviews
“The monks who inscribed beautiful manuscripts during the Middle Ages, Cavendish an 18th century scientist who explained electricity, and many of the geeks in Silicon Valley are all on the autism spectrum. Silberman reviews the history of autism treatments from horrible blaming of parents to the modern positive neurodiversity movement. Essential reading for anyone interested in psychology.”
--Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Autistic Brain
“NeuroTribes is remarkable. Silberman has done something unique: he’s taken the dense and detailed history of autism and turned the story into a genuine page-turner. The book is sure to stir considerable discussion.”
--John Elder Robison, Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at The College of William & Mary and author of Look Me in the Eye
“This gripping and heroic tale is a brilliant addition to the history of autism.”
--Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London
“In this genuine page-turner, Steve Silberman reveals the untold history of autism: from persecution to parent-blaming, from Rain Man to vaccines, of doctors for whom professional ego trumped compassion, to forgotten heroes like Hans Asperger, unfairly tainted by Nazi links. It ends on an optimistic note, with ‘autistics’ reclaiming the narrative and defining autism in their terms — more difference than disability and an essential part of the human condition. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in autism or Asperger’s, or simply a fascination with what makes us tick.”
--Benison O’Reilly, co-author of The Australian Autism Handbook --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00L9AY254
- Publisher : Avery; 1st edition (August 25, 2015)
- Publication date : August 25, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 1564 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 542 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,656 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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By Blue Orchid on February 10, 2016
He then delves into the history of autism, beginning with a profile of Henry Cavendish, A scientific pioneer known for his discovery of hydrogen, and for being the first to measure the density of the earth. This biography illustrates how Cavendish exhibited many traits that are now associated with high functioning autism. The author asserts that these traits are what drove him to achieve such success in his scientific career.
Silberman goes on to cover Hans Asperger, his collegues, and their therapeutical work with children in the years leading up to the second world war. It describes the tragic events that occured in Nazi Germany, and how Nazi eugenics set back the study of mental illness.
Next, the book covers Leo Kanner, another doctor who was doing his own work with mental patients. Both Kanner and Asperger observed patients who exhibited autistic behaviors, and though they were unaware of each other's work, they each coined phrase "autism" to describe the disorder.
While Silberman accurately details this history, it's important to note that his personal bias colors his portrayal of these historical figures. He portrays Asperger as a tragic, almost heroic figure. While the author does desceibe Asperger's involvment in the Nazi regime, he does so with an apologetic tone. Asperger is framed as a Schindler-esque figure, using his position in Nazi society to try to help as many victims as possible.
Conversely, Kanner is portrayed as an arrogant, error-prone fame seeker who would leave negative impacts on the practice of psychiatry. However, Silberman does not attempt to diminish the good that Kanner did for the field. He imported many revolutionary psychiatric practices from Europe, and while he had no formal training in the field, he was still more skilled than his American collegues. He clearly cared about his patients, and worked to better the conditions they faced in the asylums.
Ultimately, Silberman is advocating for a decidedly pro-autism view - the views of the neurodiversity movement. NeuroTribes seeks to raise awareness for autism, but it also preaches tolerance for it, and acceptance of it. It frames autism as a civil rights issue as much as a medical one. Silberman's stance is clear, and while this bias is reflected in his writing, he effectively substantiates his reasoning and makes clear efforts to remain even handed in his represention of the issues. While he's critical of alternative treatments, he aknowledges that the shortcomings in medical science that leave desperate families to try to figure things out on their own. Although he praises Asperger for being the first to advocate for neurodiversity, he admits that he had to tacitly, and at times actively, condone Hitler's regime in order to continue his medical practice. Many of Kanner's shortcomings are also explained as consequences of that turbulent point in history.
All in all, I'm finding NeuroTribes to be educational, emotional, and empowering. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of ten, and in the 15 years since, I've found it easy to lose hope. It's hard not to retreat into myself and avoid society. It's hard to accept my differences. I've learned to repress my emotions in order to appear more "normal." This book is a much needed reminder that Autistic people can thrive in this world. In the past, I've read books and heard lectures from Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, and others that have sent this message. But unlike the personal accounts of these autistic icons who have found success in a confusing world, NeuroTribes tries to show autism's place in the world on a larger, more universal scale. Everything I've read in the past has shown that we can fit in, but Silberman is helping us find out how, and where.
Top reviews from other countries
If like me you were hoping for some personal stories about people with Autism and their experiences of the condition, you will be very disappointed in this book. It does briefly touch on the lives and experience of the patients but the main bulk of this book is about the people who first diagnosed Aspergers and their lives. How disappointing! I can't understand why my psychiatrist doctor recommended this book to me, there must be better books out there about autism and the daily lives and experience of those with Autism.
This looks at the history of autism from when it first started being recognised as a condition, how various 'treatments' developed and then explores why it may seem more prevalent today and the reasons for this. So far, so good. However, it almost feels like the author had done a LOT of research on this topic and then couldn't bear to leave any of it out, so you're left with a long winded, rambling book.
Some parts were fascinating and really piqued your interest and other parts were so dry and laborious that it almost became a chore to get through it. He uses case studies of different people with autism to highlight aspects of the history, but then goes into too much personal detail that is irrelevant to the story being told. It becomes disjointed and a little aimless.
I think a bit of tighter editing would've served this book well, cutting out some of the superfluous and making some other parts more succinct. Overall it was an interesting read and may be eye opening to parents with children who are newly diagnosed, but for the reasons mentioned above it fell a little short for me.
I have worked in IT for over 35 years and I have had the very great pleasure of working with people who are obviously "on the spectrum", and they have been truly exceptional performers.
Steve Silberman has done a great job of researching the history of our understanding and pointing out other pivotal reads on the subject.