About this item

A groundbreaking exploration of the chilling history behind an increasingly common diagnosis.In 1930s and 1940s Vienna, child psychiatrist Hans Asperger sought to define autism as a diagnostic category, aiming to treat those children, usually boys, he deemed capable of participating fully in society. Depicted as a compassionate and devoted researcher, Asperger was in fact deeply influenced by Nazi psychiatry. Although he did offer individualized care to children he deemed promising, he also prescribed harsh institutionalization and even transfer to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich's deadliest killing centers, for children with greater disabilities, who, he held, could not integrate into the community.With sensitivity and passion, Edith Sheffer's scrupulous research reveals the heartbreaking voices and experiences of many of these children, while also illuminating a Nazi regime obsessed with sorting the population into categories, cataloging people by race, heredity, politics, religion, sexuality, criminality, and biological defects -- labels that became the basis of either rehabilitation or persecution and extermination.



About the Author

Edith Sheffer

Edith Sheffer is a historian of Germany and central Europe, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sheffer's prize-winning Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain, challenges the moral myth of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War's central symbol -- revealing how the Iron Curtain was not simply imposed by Communism, but emerged from the everyday actions of ordinary people.

Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna, investigates Hans Asperger's creation of the autism diagnosis in the Third Reich, and is forthcoming in May 2018. It examines Nazi psychiatry's emphasis on social spirit and Asperger's involvement in the euthanasia program that killed children considered to be disabled.



Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends


Report incorrect product information.