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Asperger's Syndrome and High Achievement: Some Very Remarkable Peopleby Ioan James
Synopses & Reviews
This fascinating collection identifies famous figures from the past whose behaviour suggests they may have had autism, a disorder that was not defined until the mid-20th century. James looks at the lives of 20 individuals ? scientists, artists, politicians and philosophers ? examining in detail their interests, successes, indifferences and shortcomings. Among the profiles are those of mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell, who wondered in his autobiography how he managed to hurt the people around him quite without meaning to; biologist Alfred Kinsey, who excelled in academia but was ill at ease in social situations; and the writer Patricia Highsmith, who had very definite likes (fountain pens and absence of noise) and dislikes (television and four-course meals). From Albert Einstein to Philip of Spain, these intriguing individuals all showed clear evidence of autistic traits.
Book News Annotation:
People with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) are said to be somewhere on a spectrum that runs from the ordinary to the very autistic. Here retired mathematician James speculates about artists, politicians, scientists and writers who may have had AS but still managed to produce superior work. His 20 subjects include Michelangelo, Newton, Swift, Jefferson, van Gogh, Bertrand Russell, Einstein, Bartok, Ramanujan, Einstein, Kinsey, Warhol and pianist Glenn Gould, and each appears on a very different portion of the spectrum. Although proving that many of his subjects were challenged by AS would itself be very challenging (there is much controversy on diagnosing the condition), James makes a convincing case for including each on this list. He also helps to explain what some dismiss as "artistic eccentricity" as actually a logical aspect of AS. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Identifies famous figures from the past whose behaviour suggests they may have had autism. The author looks at the lives of 22 individuals, examining in detail their interests, successes, indifferences and shortcomings. This book will interest general readers and anyone with a personal or professional interest in autism.
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