This is the true story of Genie, who spent the first 13 years of her life harnessed in a single room by her father. Never having heard any sound bar the occasional work, she emerged unable to speak, with no social skills and limited mobility. Fought over by psychologists, linguists and other experts, for a while she developed rapidly. Then, abruptly and tragically, her progress halted. Weaving her story with those of other "wild children", Russ Meyer presents a case-study of human cognitive development, exploring how language is learned and illuminating its central role in our humanity.