American Normal

The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome

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Asperger's Syndrome, often characterized as a form of "high-functioning autism," is a poorly defined and little-understood neurological disorder. The people who suffer from the condition are usually highly intelligent, and as often as not capable of extraordinary feats of memory, calculation, and musicianship. In this wide-ranging report on Asperger's, Lawrence Osborne introduces us to those who suffer from the syndrome and to those who care for them as patients and as family. And, more importantly, he speculates on how, with our need to medicate and categorize every conceivable mental state, we are perhaps adding to their isolation, their sense of alienation from the "normal."

This is a book about the condition, and the culture surrounding Asperger's Syndrome as opposed to a guide about how to care for your child with Aspergers. Examines American culture and the positive and negative perspectives on the condition. Some parents hope their child will be the next Glenn Gould or Bill Gates, others worry that their child is abnormal and overreact.


"Osborne uses his considerable journalistic talents to interview a number of well-known … and some not-so-well-known people diagnosed with an enigmatic disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome. … Recommended for readers at all levels." - K. M. Dillon, Choice Middletown

"In the US, Asperger’s Syndrome - a psychiatric disorder … has become a rallying point for a diverse and often incompatible range of interests. While the UK isn’t showing any signs of jumping on the Asperger’s bandwagon … books and articles on the subject makes it hard to ignore. Osborne’s better than most because it takes the opposite tack, making the similarities between Asperger’s sufferers and unaffected people bigger than the differences. … This is an accessible book that’s enjoyable and informative … ." - Emma Thomas, Focus

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