Study on the rise of autism wins Samuel Johnson Prize

Lorien Kite:

A study of autism has won the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for non-fiction writing.

Neurotribes, by the US investigative journalist Steve Silberman, began life in 2001 as an article in Wired magazine that sought to explain higher-than-average rates of the disorder among the children of programmers and engineers in Silicon Valley.

Combining contemporary reportage with a history of medical approaches and social attitudes towards the disorder, the book that emerged tackles the question of why there has been such a rise in diagnoses in recent decades.

Anne Applebaum, the historian and journalist who chaired the five-strong judging panel, described Neurotribes as “a tour de force of archival, journalistic and scientific research”.