Anil Ananthaswamy

Inner Worlds

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently

By Steve Silberman

Allen & Unwin 534pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism

By John Donvan & Caren Zucker

Allen Lane 672pp £20 order from our bookshop

In the early 1940s, two researchers on either side of the Atlantic, child psychiatrist Leo Kanner in Baltimore and paediatrician Hans Asperger in Vienna, independently identified and classified a condition they both called autism (from autos, Greek for ‘self’). This conjunction ‘is still considered one of the great coincidences of twentieth-century medicine’, writes Steve Silberman in NeuroTribes. It was an idea whose time had come.

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