Louis Conte has finally gone and done it.
Conte has written an exciting medical and legal thriller that may end up being as important to the autism community as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was to the anti-slavery movement.
I want to talk first about the fine book Conte has written, then why it is important for you to not only to go out and buy it, but to purchase several copies and give them out to friends, families, and public officials who haven’t yet understood our cause.
Conte’s main character is Tony Colletti, a former New York cop who now works in a suburban community on the Hudson River. As the father of a child with autism, Tony’s life is upended when he fails to save the life of a boy with autism who had wandered away from his house and fallen through the ice of a frozen pond. This event, combined with the increasing number of policemen on the force who have a child with autism convinces Colletti that he needs to use his investigative skills to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Former CBS investigative journalist, Sharyl Attkisson, called this book, “Compelling and controversial. You know that saying about truth being stranger than fiction? This is the truth. I couldn’t put it down.”
From this point Colletti plunges into a world we in the autism community know all too well, a sordid intersection of media disinformation, political and scientific corruption, the influence of big money on important issues, and something that many of us thought existed only in other countries, a public and press which acts more like those in an authoritarian country where people are afraid to speak out. In a democratic country, is the fear of ridicule more powerful than the secret police of a dictatorship?
All of these questions are presented in a fast-paced page-turner that I believe the typical person could race through in an afternoon. But it is a book that will be difficult to forget.
The Autism War has the potential to do something revolutionary for our movement. Those who know me are aware that I have long advocated for non-traditional ways of fighting for our children. I’ve often used the example of George Washington taking on the British during the Revolutionary War. He was facing the best-trained, most powerful army in the world. As a gentleman, he knew he was expected to engage in the enemies' definition of a fair fight – basically, the two armies squaring off against each other at a pre-arranged location, a day or two of battle, then a winner being declared. That was a fight Washington knew he would lose.
Washington had to wage an unconventional war, picking those places where he might score a few victories, and keep his rag-tag army together. We need to do the same. Our opponents may own the media, the politicians, and the scientific journals, but they don’t write exciting thrillers like Conte has done. The numbers needed to move the dial on this and turn Conte's book into a New York Times bestseller are very low, probably less than ten thousand copies. And I know how many of you read Age of Autism on a daily basis. A victory in this fight is within our grasp.
The book can be ordered on Amazon and will be in bookstores on April 1, 2014, just in time for Autism Awareness Month. Do your patriotic duty and buy at least five copies of Lou Conte’s wonderful book to pass out as "gifts" during Autism Awareness Month. Our children and families deserve a few victories and YOU can give it to them.