Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present

Overview

In the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, it was widely assumed that society ought to foster the breeding of those who possessed favorable traits and discourage the breeding of those who did not. Controlled human breeding, "eugenics" as it was labeled by Francis Galton, seemed only good common sense. How did eugenics come to exert such powerful and broad appeal? What events shaped its direction? Whose interests did it finally serve? Why did it fall into disrepute? Has it survived in other guises? ...
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Overview

In the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, it was widely assumed that society ought to foster the breeding of those who possessed favorable traits and discourage the breeding of those who did not. Controlled human breeding, "eugenics" as it was labeled by Francis Galton, seemed only good common sense. How did eugenics come to exert such powerful and broad appeal? What events shaped its direction? Whose interests did it finally serve? Why did it fall into disrepute? Has it survived in other guises? These are some of the questions that Diane Paul sets out to answer - questions that have acquired a new urgency in light of developments in genetic medicine. The eugenics movement appeared to be dead - associated with race and class prejudice, in particular the crimes of the Third Reich - or was it just sleeping? Has eugenics returned in the guise of medical genetics? In Controlling Human Heredity, Professor Paul aims to bridge the gap between expert and lay understandings of the history of eugenics and thereby enrich the debate on the perplexing contemporary choices in genetic medicine.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Looks at origins and attitudes of the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, examining the interests it served, why it fell into disrepute, and whether it has survived in other guises. Demonstrates that support for eugenics was diverse and tenacious through at least the 1930s, and emphasizes eugenics' broad and persistent appeal and its close association with genetics. The author is a professor of political science. First published in 1995 by Humanities Press International, Inc. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"This is an excellent book and deserves a wide readership."

-Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780391039162
  • Publisher: BRILL
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: The Control of Nature Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Series Editors' Preface
Acknowledgments
1 What Is Eugenics? Why Does It Matter? 1
2 Evolutionary Anxieties 22
3 From Soft to Hard Heredity 40
4 The Menace of the Moron 50
5 Eugenic Solutions 72
6 "Whose Country Is This?" Eugenics and Race 97
7 From Eugenics to Human Genetics 115
Bibliography 137
Index 151
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