Samuel Johnson Prize 2015 voor Steve Silberman, Neurotribes

03 november 2015

De Samuel Johnson Prize 2015 gaat naar Steve Silberman voor zijn boek Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently.

De Samuel Johnson Prize bekroont 'the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts'. Eerder werden onder anderen Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk, 2014), Frank Dikötter (Mao's Great Famine, 2011) en Anthony Beevor (Stalingrad, 1999) bekroond.

De jury:

'Silberman’s ground-breaking archival research lays out the intellectual history of the condition we now call “autism,” tracing the evolution of the diagnosis from Nazi Vienna up until the present day, explaining how political and social context shaped scientific and medical perspectives. 

At the same time, Silberman’s compassionate journalism explores the impact of popular culture on perceptions of autism, and the impact of autism on the families of those who live with it. As a writer of popular science, the first ever to win the Samuel Johnson prize, Silberman also excels at using stories and anecdotes to explain complex medical issues to a wide audience.

In the end, though, we admired Silberman’s work because it is powered by a strongly argued set of beliefs: That we should stop drawing sharp lines between what we assume to be “normal” and “abnormal,” and that we should remember how much the differently-wired human brain has, can and will contribute to our world. He has injected a hopeful note into a conversation that's normally dominated by despair.  

Neurotribes is tour de force of archival, journalistic and scientific research, both scholarly and widely accessible. We are delighted to award it the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize.'

Dit was de shortlist:

  • Jonathan Bate, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life
  • Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks
  • Laurence Scott, The Four-Dimensional Human
  • Steve Silberman, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
  • Emma Sky, The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq
  • Samanth Subramanian, This Divided Island

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MINDBOOKSATH : athenaeum