Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015
A New York Times bestseller
'NeuroTribes is a sweeping and penetrating history, presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity it will change how you think of autism.' -From the foreword by Oliver Sacks
What is autism: a devastating developmental disorder, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more - and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.
Following on from his ground breaking article 'The Geek Syndrome',Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for identifying it, and discovers why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path towards a more humane world in which people with learning differences have access to the resources they need to live happier and more meaningful lives.
He reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, whose 'little professors' were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of 'neurodiversity' activists seeking respect, accommodations in the workplace and education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.