Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison / Edition 1

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Overview

At a time of increased interest and renewed shock over the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, Acres of Skin sheds light on yet another dark episode of American medical history. In this disturbing expose, Allen M. Hornblum tells the story of Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Relying on prisoners' firsthand reports, Hornblum has written a thorough account of the questionable medical experimentation carried out in Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison from the mid-1940s to 1974. Research on everything from cosmetics to chemical warfare agents was conducted there, often with minimal or no record- keeping. Such research raises serious ethical issues. Throughout, Hornblum asks whether prisoners can give informed consent, particularly when the potential consequences of the research are not fully explained. Although most of the book centers on Holmesburg, Hornblum does cite other prisons across the country where similar practices took place before they received widespread condemnation in the 1970s. What is shocking about this is that it did not happen in the distant past but in our own generation, with the doctors involved still in practice. Frighteningly, Hornblum reveals that at the Nuremberg trials Nazi doctors cited American prison practices as a defense for their nefarious medical experiments in the camps. -- Eric D. Albright, Duke Medical Center Library, Durham, NC
Library Journal
Relying on prisoners' firsthand reports, Hornblum has written a thorough account of the questionable medical experimentation carried out in Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison from the mid-1940s to 1974. Research on everything from cosmetics to chemical warfare agents was conducted there, often with minimal or no record- keeping. Such research raises serious ethical issues. Throughout, Hornblum asks whether prisoners can give informed consent, particularly when the potential consequences of the research are not fully explained. Although most of the book centers on Holmesburg, Hornblum does cite other prisons across the country where similar practices took place before they received widespread condemnation in the 1970s. What is shocking about this is that it did not happen in the distant past but in our own generation, with the doctors involved still in practice. Frighteningly, Hornblum reveals that at the Nuremberg trials Nazi doctors cited American prison practices as a defense for their nefarious medical experiments in the camps. -- Eric D. Albright, Duke Medical Center Library, Durham, NC
Philadelphia Inquirer
Hornblum has masterfully retold this tale.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415923361
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/12/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen M. Hornblum teaches Urban Studies at Temple University. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Prison System and as the Chief of Staff of Philadelphia's Sheriff's Office.

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