Edith Sheffer is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her current book, Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna (W. W. Norton, 2018) investigates Hans Asperger’s creation of the autism diagnosis in the Third Reich, examining Nazi psychiatry's emphasis on social spirit and Asperger's involvement in the euthanasia program that killed children considered to be disabled. A related project through Stanford's Spatial History Lab maps the transnational development of child psychiatry as a discipline: "Forming Selves: The Creation of Child Psychiatry from Red Vienna to the Third Reich and Abroad." Sheffer's prize-winning first book, Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain (Oxford University Press, 2011), challenges the moral myth of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War’s central symbol -- revealing how the Iron Curtain was not simply imposed by Communism, but emerged from the everyday actions of ordinary people. Her next book, Hidden Front: Switzerland and World War Two, tells an in-depth history of a nation whose pivotal role remains unexposed yet was decisive in the course of the Second World War.
Best 10 Books, Publisher’s Weekly, Summer 2018