Asperger's Children by Edith Sheffer

Asperger's Children

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 regime slaughtered millions across Europe during World War Two, it sorted ...

Details Asperger's Children

TitleAsperger's Children
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Psychology, Science, War, World War II

Reviews Asperger's Children

  • lark benobi
    This is the story of how a fuzzy psychiatric diagnosis was given to unfortunate children by doctors who knew they were condemning these children to horrible deaths. It's the story of how these children's honest, heartbreaking, willingly given, naive answers to questions posed by their doctors could mean the difference between being allowed to live or condemned to die.It's a story about how killing a child became a completely reasonable way to tre...
  • Michelle Hopkins
    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 i...
  • Jaime
    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...
  • Josh Caporale
    Being an Aspergian that was diagnosed in the second grade, I felt that this was something that I needed to read. I feel that it was important to learn about the namesake for my condition and who Dr. Hans Asperger really was. I knew that he was an Austrian pediatric psychiatrist that examined patients that showed social awkwardness and how he saw intellectual light in some of these subjects that he referred to as his "little professors," but there...
  • Sandra
    That hurt.
  • Pam Cipkowski
    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 ...
  • Sharon
    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 t...
  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    Nazis, children killing without mercy, and child psychiatrists applying psychotherapeutic solutions in the desire of creating a perfect state from a master race, what’s not to like? All that ugly background is necessary in order to understand the context and meaning of the original diagnosis of autism. This book did something better than the 10 or so other books I’ve read in the last year or so on Autism by explaining what it really means to ...
  • Yibbie
    This is one of the most chilling books I’ve read. The individual stories of suffering, abandonment, fear, and death are heartbreaking, but not the hardest part of the book. Even harder is the thought of people setting themselves up to decide whether a child’s life is worth living based on their perceived usefulness. It is sickening. Then to realize that the men who developed and applied those theories and standards to the most vulnerable of s...
  • Leah
    Not about Aspergers but gemut gemut gemut and Nazi Vienna: If you want to learn about gemut you should read this book. If you want to learn about Aspergers do not read this book. I’ll summarize it for you. Aspergers was involved in the extermination of children (not directly) during the Nazi regime but changed his tune after the war ended. A syndrome was named after him by a lady who didn’t know all the terrible things he did. That is all. A ...
  • Dr. Lloyd E. Campbell
    This is the toughest book review I’ve ever written. Not since the 7th grade when Mrs. Fuller forced me to read a report to our reading class. I read a biography of George Washington’s portraitist Gilbert Stuart. He painted the portrait of Washington you carry in your wallet. I confessed I liked the book to a chorus of snickers. If you read for enjoyment don’t even look at the cover of this book. The title Asperger’s children is misleading...
  • SibylM
    3.5 stars.
  • S.D. Curran
    A detailed look at a genocide enablerI am fascinated by the mind and history, so this book carefully blended both. The rise of autism as a diagnosis has its roots in the interwar period, and Asperger, who initially resisted the diagnosing of children, didn’t just ‘happen to get involved,’ as some might think, but was clearly involved in one of the biggest examples of genocide and eugenics this planet has ever seen. Following Asperger’s ro...
  • Melanie
    I expected this to be more about the history of Asperger and his actions during World War II, but there was a LOT of time devoted to his theories and how they compared to the research and writing of other doctors and psychiatrists. I didn't find these aspects very interesting, and I got especially tired of the discussion over how to define "gemut." I think the basic message is important considering how widespread the use of "Asperger's Syndrome" ...
  • Caroline
    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!
  • Kate
    This book has a lot of shocking and important information. That said, it’s more focused on child psychiatry and it’s treatments in Nazi Vienna with Hans Asperger as a loose thread tying it together. I understand you need context, but I thought it would be more about his specific work. What I did learn was stomach-churning. The fact that his name lives on is horrific to a large group of people.
  • Michelle
    I found portions of this book to be very dry and clinical. Not saying it is a bad thing, but it's not my favourite thing. The content however is fascinating. There's a lot in here I'd never heard of before, like Speigelgrund. Just another of the many horrors that came out of Germany.
  • Eustacia Tan
    While I’m fairly familiar with the term Asperger’s syndrome, I don’t actually know anything about the history behind it. So I was a bit shocked when I saw the cover of this book and found out that the origin of this diagnosis has its roots in Nazi Vienna.The term “Asperger Syndrome” was popularised by Lorna Wing in 1944, who based it on Hans Asperger’s description of “Autistic Psychopathy”. She opted to change it because of the ne...
  • Leanne
    This is a well-researched and important book, which I had to put down. I did not have the stomach to keep reading it, as was so incredibly heart-wrenching. My interest in the subject was the Steinhof psychiatric institute, which I visit last year in Vienna. It’s an absolutely gorgeous Art Nouveau complex of buildings with what is probably the most beautiful art nouveau church in the world located on its grounds at the top of a forested hill. Th...
  • Alexis
    This was a very interesting look at not just Hans Asperger, but autism, eugenics, and Nazi science. In the 1920s, Vienna pioneered an interventionist approach to child development. Eugenics was in vogue, but didn't mean only the negatives we associate it with today--rather, it was a two pronged approach, with active medical, social work, and education departments designed to improve the lives of children and families. One element of this approach...
  • FM
    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 abo...
  • John-Michael Lelievre
    This is, quite possibly, the hardest book I have ever read. Not because it is poorly written, but because of the subject matter. There have been two books that I have read that have reduced me to tears, and this is one of them. Let me just start out by saying, for context, that I was diagnosed with "Asperger's Syndrome" almost a decade ago (I'm now 31). In sharp contrast to what children endured with a similar diagnosis in Nazi Vienna (of course ...
  • Alex
    Review to follow
  • Ale Chávez
    This book literally made me cry to think of the horrors of the time and how to diagnose a child can Affect their life
  • Sarai Henderson
    I have a son with Asperger's syndrome and one with high functioning autism. This book was really hard to get through. I kept picturing their faces and how they would be considered less than human and not worth the effort back during WW2. I had no idea that the Germans were killing their own children just because they were different. Books don't normally make me cry, but this one did. Prepare to be sad deep down in your soul.Sara | Book Confession...
  • Susan
    I got this book out of the library thinking it would be an interesting take on how Asperger defined and 'created' Asperger's Syndrome. I certainly didn't expect a well-research book into how complicit Asperger was in the 'racial purity' efforts of the early 1940's. He was a well-known psychiatrist before, during and after the war, who worked in the same circles of the doctors who directed the Spieglegrund, the concentration camp for children who ...
  • Amy Payne
    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 thankfu...
  • Bookworm
    The book sounded rather harrowing and sadly relevant for the times: I was aware of the torture, experimentation and abuse Nazis put children through for the sake of "science" but I was not that aware of the background of Hans Asperger. I had no idea of his complicity with the Nazis nor that he participating in murdering children.It's not an easy or light read by any stretch and you should prepare yourself to read about the deaths of children repe...
  • Hayden
    Gemut, gemut, gemut. The book is a little scattered, but contains lesser known content on historical atrocities in Vienna.