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

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As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during World War Two, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds—especially those thought to lack social skills—claiming the Reich had no place for them. Hans Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain “autistic” children into productive citizens, while transferring others to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child killing centers. In this unflinching history, Sheffer exposes Asperger’s complicity in the murderous policies of the Third Reich.

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In the first comprehensive history of the links between autism and Nazism, prize-winning historian Edith Sheffer uncovers how a diagnosis common today emerged from the atrocities of the Third Reich.

As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during World War Two, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds—especially those thought to lack social skills—claiming the Reich had no place for them. Hans Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain “autistic” children into productive citizens, while transferring others to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child killing centers. In this unflinching history, Sheffer exposes Asperger’s complicity in the murderous policies of the Third Reich.

More Information
ISBN 9780393357790
Publisher W.W. Norton & Company Inc.
Publication Date Mar 10, 2020
Pages (number) 320
Genre History, Politics, and Social Sciences
Author Edith Sheffer
Signed No
Format Paperback
Editorial Reviews

“Edith Sheffer has written a book that defies easy categorization―an appropriate, if perhaps inadvertent, response to her fascinating and terrible subject matter. In Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna, she shows how the Third Reich’s obsession with categories and labels was inextricable from its murderousness; what at first seems to be a book about Dr. Hans Asperger and the children he treated ends up tracing the sprawling documentary record of a monstrous machine.” Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

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