Inventing America's "Worst" Family: Eugenics, Islam, and the Fall and Rise of the Tribe of Ishmael / Edition 1

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Overview

This book tells the stranger-than-fiction story of how a poor white family from Indiana was scapegoated into prominence as America's "worst" family by the eugenics movement in the early twentieth century, then "reinvented" in the 1970s as part of a vanguard of social rebellion. In what becomes a profoundly unsettling counterhistory of the United States, Nathaniel Deutsch traces how the Ishmaels, whose patriarch fought in the Revolutionary War, were discovered in the slums of Indianapolis in the 1870s and became a symbol for all that was wrong with the urban poor. The Ishmaels, actually white Christians, were later celebrated in the 1970s as the founders of the country's first African American Muslim community. This bizarre and fascinating saga reveals how class, race, religion, and science have shaped the nation's history and myths.
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Editorial Reviews

Reason - Jesse Walker

“An insightful new study.”
Choice

“Recommended.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520255241
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 282
  • Sales rank: 1,322,471
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author


Nathaniel Deutsch, Professor of Literature and History at the University
of California, Santa Cruz, is author of The Maiden of Ludmir: A Jewish Holy Woman and Her World (UC Press), among other books.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Sudhir Venkatesh
Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. How Oscar McCulloch Discovered the Ishmaelites
2. In Darkest Indianapolis
3. How the Other Half Lives
4. The Ishmaelites and the Menace of the Feebleminded
5. The Tribal Twenties: Ishmaelites, Immigrants, and Asiatic Black Men
6. Lost-Found Nation: How the Tribe of Ishmael Became “Muslim”
7. The Ishmaels: An American Story
Afterword

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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