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Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna
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Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  91 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Hans Asperger, the pioneer of autism and Asperger syndrome in Nazi Vienna, has been celebrated for his compassionate defense of children with disabilities. But in this groundbreaking book, prize-winning historian Edith Sheffer exposes that Asperger was not only involved in the racial policies of Hitler’s Third Reich, he was complicit in the murder of children.

As the Nazi r
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by W. W. Norton Company
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Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was extremely hard to get through, but well worth it. The brutality of the Nazi regime has been well-documented, but this was especially hard to read. I found it interesting, especially in light of the current administration and the creeping rise of fascism. It was disconcerting to see how intertwined fascism was with medicine and psychiatry - and how autism and Asperger’s work was so tied into and related to the Nazi ideals. I have a lot of thoughts on this book, and I’m still working ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That hurt.

Michelle Hopkins
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stop BEFORE you attach a label of autism or Asperger's Syndrome to a child -- yours or anyone else's -- and READ this book. This is one of the most important books I have read in years in how it gives context and meaning to a concept society has accepted as fact. When you read the roots and evolution of this "diagnosis" ("autistic"), your heart will break, your anger will rise and you will be shocked at the flimsy and scant research on which it is based.

The diagnosis has roots in the Nazi "raci
Pam Cipkowski
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The inclusion of Asperger syndrome on the autism spectrum in the 1990s gave hope to many individuals and their loved ones who struggled to make sense of their unique personality and behavioral characteristics. Little has been made, though, of the circumstances by which Asperger’s was brought to light, and its relation to Nazi eugenics. This exhaustively and meticulously researched volume, though, tells the fascinating and chilling story of the Nazi cleansing of the population of “undesirables,” ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-won, kindle
Heavier read than expected as for me as it seemed closer to a textbook resource than a general audience book. Very detailed history of the subject which does provide a strong retrospective thought process for the reader of how individuals with disabilities have been treated and current direction of supports and services.

My thanks to goodreads and the book's sponsors for the opportunity to read this book and extend my knowledge of the history of the subject covered.
3.5 stars.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening book on the history of Dr. Asperger in Nazi Vienna. Disturbing treatment of children and evils of euthanasia. The Autism and Aspergers spectrum was a death sentence. Author reveals so much about how the doctors had no real compassion for children who didn't fit the perfect citizen. Disturbing to know this is where these labels originated from. Won book from Goodreads and Edith Sheffer, thank you!
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I made myself read this book is the same way I made myself sit through the movie "The Killing Fields": because it's an important story and we should not forget.

I honestly had to keep closing this book and walking away from it. It was so very painful to read. There are stories in there that will haunt me. There was one story in particular about a little boy who was blind and had other disabilities whose mother sent loving notes to the facility about how to care for him all while they were deliber
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To say this book is painful to read is an understatement. But if you've ever wondered to yourself "How did people get to the point where they felt it was okay to judge and exterminate people during World War II?" this book helps answer some of those questions in terms of psychological and social expectations. I now more deeply understand the Reich's fixation on and promotion of the group mindset, and how this obsession with all members of society "wanting to be part of the group" allowed unspeak ...more
Amy Payne
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book compliments of Goodreads in a giveaway. I’ve worked with children on the spectrum for 20+ years so I was interested to read the origins of the Asperger diagnosis. It was a lot to take in. Due to the hideous euthanasia protocol used during the Nazi regime, I could only read this book in small parts. It was obvious how hard the author worked to gather all the facts, stories and insight of this horrid time period. I am thankful that the Asperger diagnosis is no longer used in t ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sheffer presents a detailed and thoroughly researched work. She selves in to the dire and deadly perils faced by people with disabilities under the Third Reich and the pervasive influence of Nazi philosophy on today’s field of psychiatry and special education.
This work represents a critical missing piece in our current understanding of disability and neurodiversity, namely, by whose standards are we defining these individuals? It should be required reading for all educators and for parents of ch
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thinkers
Haunting and troubling, especially being the mother of a child with "autistic psychopathy", I found this book to be as informative as it was difficult to stomach. There were many times that I cried as I tried to envision the euthanasia of children, based solely upon nationalistic policy and the concept of Eugenics.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I was expecting more of what happened on a day-to-day basis inside of the Am Spiegelgrund clinic, but instead it was more about the ideology of the time.
Betsy Del Vecchio
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very well researched and written. A difficult, emotionally devastating read.
Leslie Jonsson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Extremely thought provoking book on the creator of the term "Aspergers syndrome, and his connections to the Nazi regime in Europe.
I found this book to be really informative and well-balanced. I won a free kindle version of this book in a goodreads giveaway.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book and tragic as well as how Nazi doctors and psychiatrists helped the Germans eliminate children who had special needs.
I won a kindle version #GoodreadsGiveaway
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Edith Sheffer is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her current book, Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna (W. W. Norton, 2018) investigates Hans Asperger’s creation of the autism diagnosis in the Third Reich, examining Nazi psychiatry's emphasis on social spirit and Asperger's involvement in the euthanasia program t
More about Edith Sheffer

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