Downs: The history of a disability

Hardcover | August 25, 2011

byDavid Wright

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For 150 years, Down's Syndrome has constituted the archetypal mental disability, easily recognisable by distinct facial anomalies and physical stigmata. In a narrow medical sense, Down's syndrome is a common disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It isnamed after John Langdon Down, the British asylum medical superintendent who described the syndrome as Mongolism in a series of lectures in 1866. In 1959, the disorder was identified as a chromosome 21 trisomy by the French paediatrician and geneticist Jerome Lejeune and has since been known asDown's Syndrome (in the English-speaking world) or Trisomy 21 (in many European countries). But children and adults born with this chromosomal abnormality have an important collective history beyond their evident importance to the history of medical science.David Wright, a Professor of History at the Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, looks at the changing social responses to Down Syndrome from Medieval Europe to the present day in the first ever history of Down Syndrome.

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From the Publisher

For 150 years, Down's Syndrome has constituted the archetypal mental disability, easily recognisable by distinct facial anomalies and physical stigmata. In a narrow medical sense, Down's syndrome is a common disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It isnamed after John Langdon Down, the British asylu...

Dr David Wright received his D.Phil. in Modern History from the University of Oxford and then specialised, as a Wellcome Trust post-doctoral fellow, in the history of medicine. He is currently a Professor of History at the Institute for Health and Social Policy, at McGill University. Dr Wright is the author and editor of six books o...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.01 inPublished:August 25, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019956793X

ISBN - 13:9780199567935

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Customer Reviews of Downs: The history of a disability

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Exceptional Book! This is a truly exceptional book and frankly, one of the most intriguing books by a historian that I have read in a long while. The poignant personal story that informed the book which David lays out in the prologue sets the tone for an engaging and fascinating study. I have always believed that historians should write not just to impress other historians but also to engage and inform the general reader. David Wright’s “Downs” manages to do both.
Date published: 2011-12-03

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue: case study1. The philosopher's idiot2. Mongols in our midst3. The Simian Crease4. Trisomie vingt-et-un5. Into the mainstreamEpilogueGlossaryNotesFurther reading

Editorial Reviews

"Downs: The History of a Disability is an elegantly written history of intellectual disability in general, and an admirable treatment of Down's Syndrome in particular." --Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry