A reporter uncovers the secrets behind the scientific scam of the century.
The news breaks first as a tale of fear and pity. Doctors at a London hospital claim a link between autism and a vaccine given to millions of children: MMR. Young parents are terrified. Immunisation rates slump. And as a worldwide ‘anti-vax’ movement kicks off, old diseases return to sicken and kill.
But a veteran reporter isn’t so sure, and sets out on an epic investigation. Battling establishment cover-ups, smear campaigns, and gagging lawsuits, he exposes rigged research and secret schemes, the heartbreaking plight of families struggling with disability, and the scientific deception of our time.
Here’s the story of Andrew Wakefield: a man in search of greatness, who stakes his soul on big ideas that, if right, might transform lives. But when the facts don’t fit, he can’t face failure. He’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.
‘Brian Deer’s definitive account of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent attempt to link the onset of autism in children with the MMR vaccine could not be better timed … gripping.’
Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times
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‘Andrew Wakefield is one of the darkest figures of our time, personally responsible for launching a mass panic about vaccines that has resulted in a resurgence of deadly childhood epidemics worldwide. He has also caused untold grief to misguided parents who view this con-man as a saviour, and to autistic people who face further stigma by being falsely portrayed as ‘vaccine-damaged’. Written with the meticulousness of a journalist determined to find out the truth and the pulse-pounding pacing of a thriller, The Doctor Who Fooled the World is a profoundly important book.’
Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes: the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity
‘Seldom … has any new book been more timely than The Doctor Who Fooled the World.’
Decca Aitkenhead, The Sunday Times
Michael Fitzpatrick, The Telegraph
‘The Doctor Who Fooled the World is a definitive account of the most consequential medical fraud of the twentieth century and of investigative reporter Brian Deer's role in uncovering it. Deer's book is a compelling reminder of what great investigative journalism looks like and why it matters.’
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, PhD, author of Cyberwar and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center
‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and Deer shines some of the brightest rays yet to reveal the rotten heart of one of the greatest public health frauds in history.’
Dr Zubin Damania, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, and host of ZDoggMD Show
‘A magnificent book. Too few people know how greed and deceit conspired to create the myth that vaccines cause autism. Only Brian Deer can tell that whole story, because he uncovered all of its chilling twists and turns.’
Dr Ivan Oransky, president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and co-founder of Retraction Watch
‘As a paediatrician, I’ve witnessed with fury the impact that Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent science has had on the health of children. This brilliantly written book is a must-read.’
Dr Su Laurent, author of Your Baby Month By Month: what to expect from birth to 2 years
‘An extraordinary story of medical fraud and scaremongering, told by the courageous and tenacious journalist who revealed the truth.’
Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Enigma
‘This riveting history of Andrew Wakefield’s career as an advocate for the discredited link between the measles vaccine and autism serves as a stirring demonstration of the process and power of investigative journalism … Deer recounts uncovering Wakefield’s deceptions thanks to testimony from disillusioned parents of study participants and guidance from more meticulous scientists … Readers who love a good debunking will find Deer’s narrative logical, exciting, and enraging.’
‘Riveting from start to finish. Thankfully, reporters like Brian Deer exist. He is not afraid to look into the eyes of the Grim Reaper and to fight back on behalf of all of us for whom scientific rigour is so important, but also perhaps more importantly, for the families whose lives have so often been devastated by misinformation and bad science.’
Ava Easton, Chief Executive, Encephalitis Society
‘This is a remarkable book.’
David Aaronovitch, The Times
‘At times Deer’s book reads more like a thriller, and reveals the extent to which an ostensibly empirical scientific endeavour can be distorted by the subjectivity of human nature.’
Decca Aitkenhead, The Australian
‘Well argued and entertainingly written.’
Robin Osborne, GPSpeak
‘Very detailed yet easy to read story of the events … It’s investigative journalism at its best and medical research at its worst … The Doctor Who Fooled the World is a fantastically detailed look at why we need investigative journalism and the global effect of misinformation.’
Sam Still Reading