American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $17.57
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 36%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $17.57   
  • New (10) from $17.57   
  • Used (2) from $27.49   


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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews:

"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, February, 2003)

"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, November, 2003)

Library Journal
This collection of portraits has that admirable goal of seeking to illuminate what it's like to live with Asperger Syndrome (AS), one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders, but it falters on many counts. First, Osborne, a medical writer for the New York Times Magazine, devotes too much space to historical figures who were never diagnosed with AS and probably did not know about the condition (e.g., Thomas Jefferson, pianist Glenn Gould). Second, he wrongly identifies inventor and educator Temple Grandin as someone with AS. Since she lacked speech until she was seven years old, she is always counted among those with moderate to severe autism despite her current success. Third, his interest in famous people who may have AS lacks clear value besides creating an Asperger "hall of fame." By sometimes trivializing the experience of the people featured, this book will not help those looking to assist someone with AS. Though little is written in this field, a better title would be Liane Holliday Willey's Pretending To Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome. Not recommended owing to its inaccuracies and muddled definition of AS.-Corey Seeman, Univ. of Toledo Libs., OH
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441929464
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 12/3/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,511,865
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1 Asperger's and I; 2 Little Professors; 3 Glenn Gould, the Last Puritan; 4 Rain Men; 5 Diagnosing Jefferson; 6 Autobiographies; 7 The Poetics of Medicine; Further Reading; Index.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)