Nonrecommended Books about Autism

May 13, 2004

Evidence of Harm. Author David Kirby provides a vivid account of the search for a cure by a parent who incorrectly believes that her son’s autism was caused by a vaccination. Unfortunately, Kirby appears oblivious to the quackery involved in such quests. A devastating review in the British Journal of Medicine has concluded:

In his determination to provide an account that is sympathetic to the parents, Kirby enters into the grip of the same delusion and ends up in the same angry and paranoid universe into which campaigners have descended, alleging phone taps and other forms of surveillance as they struggle against sinister conspiracies between health authorities and drug companies. Yet, through his laboriously detailed account he inadvertently exposes the combination of junk scientists, opportunist politicians, and ambulance chasing lawyers who have jumped on the antivaccine bandwagon. . . .

The only value of this woefully one-sided account of the mercury and autism controversy is the insight it offers into the way that credulous journalists have contributed to the public nuisance and private distress caused by antivaccine campaigns.

This page was posted on May 13, 2004.