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Cover: 'Neurotribes'

Staff Review: "Neurotribes" by Steve Silberman


This book is an incredibly thorough and surprisingly easy-to-read medical and social history of autism spectrum disorders. 

From the early years in horrifying institutions, to 20th century efforts of autistic extinction by both Nazi Germany and America, to modern day misinformation wars versus acceptance movements, this book thoroughly and fairly describes the humans behind the history. Each notable figure is humanized by Silberman, and yet the horrors of "treatments" inflicted upon autistic patients by those like Ole Ivar Lovaas and Nazi scientists are not ignored or downplayed. 

Though it travels through decades of darkness and pain for autistic children and adults, the last few chapters end in hope and empowerment. This book, although not written by an autistic author, takes great pains to amplify the autistic perspective, and to bring a very personal empathy to a people who were once thought of- as recently as the 2000s- as being "soulless" and incapable of compassion. (This, among others, is a myth Silberman wholly denounces.) 

Autistic adults, families of autistic people, and the interested observer can all enjoy and learn from Silberman's dedication to the legacy of neurodiversity.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, psychiatry, psychology, diversity, history

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