Monday, December 24, 2012

Book Review: Diagnosing Jefferson by Norm Ledgin

My rating: N/A

From Amazon: "Historians have long remarked on Thomas Jefferson's "peculiarities." But it took author Norm Ledgin, whose son has Asperger's Syndrome, to see what others did not. In this intriguing book, Ledgin carefully constructs a convincing case for the likelihood that Thomas Jefferson had Asperger's Syndrome. He matches Jefferson's behaviors with five diagnostic criteria for Asperger's: social impairment, preoccupation with "special interests," impairment in nonverbal communication, lack of emotional reciprocity, and inflexible adherence to nonfunctional routines. He also addresses other well-known signs of Asperger's, such as failure to recognize social cues, need for calming pressure, and indifference to peer pressure. A fascinating read!"

I expected this book to be an historical, factual treatise on the behavior of Thomas Jefferson and why the author believed Jefferson had Asperger's; but judging by the introduction and first chapter, it was not. (I only got that far, hence the N/A rating.)  The author instead repeatedly states that the only possibility is that Jefferson had Asperger's, and that everyone who thinks otherwise is wrong, without giving any explanation as to why they were wrong.  If you're right in your assertions, you don't have to repeatedly tell us that you're right; you have to show us.  Judging by others' reviews, this doesn't change later in the book, and I couldn't bring myself to finish it.  If anyone has read it though and would like to convince me to re-check it out from the library, please feel free. :)

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