Book Review: Unstrange Minds by Roy Richard Grinker, Icon Books

Unstrange Minds: A father remaps the world of autism

Star rating: 5/5

Roy Richard Grinker, Icon Books

ISBN 9781840468939

Grinker’s well-researched and deeply moving book makes a significant contribution to the body of accessible writing about autism.

In order to cast light on our own cultural bias, Grinker takes us on a global journey of field studies in India, South Korea, South Africa and Peru to demonstrate how the approach to defining, diagnosing and treating autism is defined by society.

This re-mapping is continued with a summary of the history of autism in the West through an examination of the key scientific literature, charting the dramatic changes over the last 65 years.

Grinker builds on his analysis of both psychiatric and psychoanalytical developments and his anthropological studies to explode the popular myth of an autism epidemic, citing broader diagnostic classifications and assessment criteria as more plausible explanations for the steep riseof the condition.

By allowing us into his own personal experiences as a father, Grinker succeeds in making the condition less mysterious.

Jenny Phillips is the training and events co-ordinator for autism education charity Treehouse

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