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Dr. Andrew Wakefield's Book Callous Disregard – Book Review

Callous (Managing Editor's Note: You can read Dr. Wakefield's complete analysis of the "Lancet 12" in his new book, Callous Disregard from Skyhorse Publishing.  Visit Dr. Wakefield's website HERE.

By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

If you have a child with autism and haven’t yet purchased a copy of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s wonderful book, Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines-The Truth Behind a Tragedy then shame on you. 

You need to buy it NOW.  I’ll wait.

(Imagine me whistling and pacing as you run down to your nearest bookstore or click on over to Amazon and order your copy.)

Okay, I’ll assume you have the book in your hot little hand, or you’ve at least gotten e-mail confirmation of your order.  Now if you have the book and haven't read it, that's a shame.

I’ve heard from many parents that cracking open a book like this is emotionally exhausting and I’m sympathetic to that feeling.  But get over it.  After all the lies which have been told about Dr. Wakefield because he has chosen to help us, we owe it to him to read this book.

Callous Disregard is organized almost the way a lawyer would set up a case, which isn’t surprising given the circumstances which gave rise to it.  There are the events which begin the story, namely the parents of children with autism and gastrointestinal issues who believe they’re not being listened to by the medical community.  This is followed by the appearance of medical professionals interested in getting to the bottom of this mystery, their findings, the legal persecution which follows, and the subsequent ruling against them by the General Medical Council (GMC) for the United Kingdom.

I’ve always thought there should be a natural sympathy between lawyers and scientists.  Both disciplines are trained in logical thinking, the careful marshaling of facts, and the need to develop a reasonable theory to explain observed events.  That’s exactly what the reader gets in this book.  The chapters are arranged so that each deals with a specific issue or witness from the case and Dr. Wakefield then supports his account with abundant documentation.

What develops is a devastating story of medical deceit and hypocrisy that many have long suspected, but which is still surprising to read.

Take the example of Dr. Michael Rutter, one of Wakefield’s main accusers in the GMC.  Dr. Rutter originally published a paper several years earlier which linked autism to vaccines.  Since that time he has apparently turned and become a paid expert for pharmaceutical companies, distancing himself from his previous concerns.  It’s interesting to note that Wakefield’s original paper only noted the onset of behavioral symptoms reported by parents following the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in 8 of 12 children.  Further investigation found the measles virus in the gut of several of the children and he called for further research into this issue.  Put side by side with Rutter’s work, it’s clear that Wakefield is the more careful scientist.

There’s also an interesting comparison between the disclosure policy which Rutter claims Dr. Wakefield should have followed and the disclosure policy Rutter himself follows.  Callous Disregard goes through exhaustive details explaining the disclosures Wakefield did make as well as the policy at that time.  Wakefield firmly believes he followed the then-existing policy and provides extensive documentation to support his claim.  The current disclosure policy calls for a disclosure of “any perceived conflict”.  Rutter continues to omit from any of his recent publications that fact that he is a paid consultant for the pharmaceutical industry in vaccine-injury cases.
At the recent Autism One conference I met a political activist who had long labored in the trenches of another cause.  She was amazed at the unity of our cause, the passion we brought to autism, and how knowledgeable and well-spoken we were.  I felt honored to be among our group.

It is in that wonderful spirit which animates our community that I’m urging you to buy this book, and if you have purchased it, crack it open and read it from cover to cover.

Dr. Wakefield has long been an advocate for us.  It’s time to make sure we are all well-informed advocates for him.

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism


Godfrey Wyl
"The money raised will be used to place full page ads re this cover-up up in national papers I'll also leave nameless at the moment."

That's an ambitious goal; full-page national ads start at around $125k.


Thomas P that is a brilliant idea. I am unable to join you but I hope others who are capable will be encouraged to do so. Will the media take your ads? Lets see if they like the colour of your money!

Thomas Petrie

I heard Dr. Wakefield speak in July of 2010 in New York City and I've read his book. It is an excellent book and deserves a much wider circulation.

I will be running from my home (25 miles north of Albany, NY) to Washington, D.C. (417 miles) to raise awareness of the link between vaccines and autism AND the apparent cover-up of this link by some federal agencies I'll leave nameless for the moment. The money raised will be used to place full page ads re this cover-up up in national papers I'll also leave nameless at the moment. The cover-up must stop NOW!


Sitting in the doctor's office today.
Which is what I spend most of my time doing.
They had "Time" Magazine JUNE 6, 2010.

They had a page on
Seccond quote down

"The parents are not going away, the children are certainly not going away, and I am not going away"
Picture beside it was Dr. Wakefield's picture and behind him was a blue and white sign that said Autism 1 out of 100 with the 100 lightly crossed out.

I left the time magazine open, took a pencil out of my purse circle it and wrote an honest doctor.

Birgit Calhoun

I have read the book. And even if none of what he has to say were to help me or my family personally, I would recommend the book. It shows a doctor who has only grown in my eyes. He is an example of what a doctor should be. He shows what I used to expect from a doctor, and believe me, I have experience. Finding a doctor who actually is out there to find the truth about an illness has become very rare. There are too many of them who avoid a diagnosis because it is less controversial to stay mainstream. I keep thinking of the great discoveries that were made in the beginning of the 20th century. Where are we now? Who is out there anymore to go into the dangers of uncharted waters? Dr. Wakefield ought to be praised for his daring. He is a hero in my eyes.


I am reading this book, and it is really good. Nobody in my day-to-day life has even heard of it, so while reading it I often find myself singing a revised version of a Brenda Lee song:
All alone am I
Reading “Callous Disregard”
All alone
With just the beat of my heart...

So it’s nice to read a review!


I'm looking forward to the arrival of my copy, and will work to pique the interest of other potential readers.


The only falsehood in this book is on page 6 where Dr. Wakefield describes his prose as "dry" and "unbecoming". I devoured this book in a day and felt much the same as I had after I read Evidence of Harm...angry at the forces that keep truth suppressed. Thank you Dr. Wakefield for everything you have done and will continue to do for our injured children.

Joan Campbell

What a snake in the grass Horton is, he is just as bad as Brian Deer. My thoughts are on my son Jack all the time whilst reading Wakefield's book and I am flabbergasted at the corruption and the skullduggery that has gone on. My first boy Jamie had the measles at 9 months so never got the MMR and he is finishing University next year and thank God he never had the MMR or the MR at school as he was 5 weeks early. Sadly a different story for Jack who was born 3 weeks early and had the MMR.

Kent Heckenlively


Thanks for the corrections. Changes made.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively

John Stone

Hi Kent,

Just to clarify, the 1998 paper only reported:

"Findings Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children, with measles infection in one child, and otitis media in another."

and did not confirm the presence of measles virus in the gut of any of the children - that, of course, happened later.

I should also mention that the writ of the General Medical Council runs across the entire United Kingdom and not just England.

Andy's book is wonderfully clear and concise, and will not be easy to dispute.


Jeanna Reed

I'll admit it....I got the book two wks ago, couldn't wait to open it, read the first page "WHY" and the tears started flowing. I wasn't prepared for that page, reality smack and the fact that I could identify with the parent and child....some serious reaching into the depths of my soul....THIS IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED!!! Thank you Dr. Wakefield for your detailed info- the puzzle pieces DO fit!


A friend employed at a teaching hospital told me that they had a lecture on biomed the other day. The room was packed, she said. There is a crack in the wall.


I was delighted to read the chapter "Poisoning Young Minds" as my daughter had come across this in school. She did pick "MMR" for her coursework and , very surprisingly, got an "A" given the obvious prejudice in the education system. Obviously, she had to be seen to be unbiased but a few choice studies pointed out by me helped her along to a balanced ( and hopefully elightening to the markers) report.

Maurine Meleck

I treasure my signed copy from the rally and A1. For me, the most frightening chapter is one near the end of the book, "Poisoning Young Minds." Hard to put the book down once you've picked it up.

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