Asperger’s Children – Review

Book Review of
“Asperger’s Children:
The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna”
By Edith Sheffer
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (2018)

I would like to warn people here that this is not at all a ‘feel good’ book. I’ve read it twice, and both times had to limit my reading to a chapter or a few pages at a time – to avoid lapsing into depression.

I must admit that earlier book accounts of Asperger’s life have perhaps been somewhat less than critical of his actions. That said, I wonder just how many of us would have acted any differently in such difficult times. I certainly already had some inkling that we might not have heard the full story in previous books on Hans Asperger.

Note that Sheffer is a German/European history academic based in America. Edith Sheffer’s own son has been diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, but he has some thoughts about how valid the label is for him. This book may well make you question your own ‘labels’, but Sheffer doesn’t really set out to completely undermine Asperger’s reputation.

I don’t want to say much more about that right now, as it is probably a book about which almost everyone will draw their own personal conclusions according to their individual circumstances; and I would not wish to rob people of a ‘description’ of their lives with which they have become comfortable. But I am personally left with a desire to acknowledge that the current ‘label’ has a few deficiencies.

Senor Moment
Guest Contributor

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Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Contributions, Guest Reviews
2 comments on “Asperger’s Children – Review
  1. Helen Joned says:

    What a very interesting review. I’m grateful to the reviewer for being so honest and I am not sure whether it would be the right thing for me to read this book as I, like so many fellow Aspergers, navigate a precarious passage through this world.
    Many thanks indeed.

    • Senor Moment says:

      Thanks Helen! This book has caused quite a stir on NAS and Wrong Planet. Agreed it can be quite a discomforting read. But I’m glad that I made the effort to read it, as it raises issues that are still far from being fully resolved in society’s acceptance of ASD.

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