The Black Stork: Eugenics and the Death of Defective Babies in American Medicine and Motion Pictures since 1915 / Edition 1

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Overview


In the late 1910s Dr. Harry J. Haiselden, a prominent Chicago surgeon, electrified the nation by allowing the deaths of at least six infants he diagnosed as "defectives". He displayed the dying infants to journalists, wrote about them for the Hearst newspapers, and starred in a feature film about his crusade. Prominent Americans from Clarence Darrow to Helen Keller rallied to his support. Martin Pernick tells this captivating story--uncovering forgotten sources and long-lost motion pictures--in order to show how efforts to improve human heredity (eugenics) became linked with mercy killing, as well as with race, class, gender and ethnicity. It documents the impact of cultural values on science along with the way scientific claims of objectivity shape modern culture. While focused on early 20th century America, The Black Stork traces these issues from antiquity to the rise of Nazism, and to the "Baby Doe", "assisted suicide" and human genome initiative debates of today.

Shows how efforts of eugenics became linked w/euthanasia & race/class/ethnic hatreds/analyzes films on genetics/etc. Appropriate for: Lay Public, History of Medicine Scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A veritable page-turner whose unifying narrative thread is nothing less than infanticide....The scope of the book is as impressive as its argument."--Journal of the History of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195135398
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

I. Witholding Treatment
1. The Birth of a Controversy
2. Contexts to the Conflict
3. Identifying the Unfit: Biology and Culture in Eugenic Constructions of Hereditary Disease
4. Eliminating the Unfit: Euthanasia and Eugenics
5. Who Decides?: The Ironies of Professional Power
II. Publicity
6. Mass Media Medicine
7. Eugenics on Film
8. The Black Stork
9. Medicine, Media, and Memory

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