Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

by Harriet A. Washington
3.8 26

Paperback(Reprint)

$12.66 $17.95 Save 29% Current price is $12.66, Original price is $17.95. You Save 29%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Friday, August 25 , Order now and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.

Overview

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767915472
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/08/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 39,104
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

HARRIET A. WASHINGTON has been a fellow in ethics at the Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. As a journalist and editor, she has worked for USA Today and several other publications, been a Knight Fellow at Stanford University and has written for such academic forums as the Harvard Public Health Review and The New England Journal of Medicine. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards for her work. Washington lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though it focuses on human rights crimes by the medical community against African Americans, a lot more is covered including the overall eugenics issues against people that were deemed unfit, and much, much, more on the culture of imposing human slavery, of subjugation. The author is unbiased mentioning black on black human rights crimes in the medical profession, corruption in the NAACP at some point, as well as the eugenicists going after "poor white women," that lived in African American neighborhoods during that time period when eugenicists were a strong force. The worst happened in the southern states, according to the book. The main underlying theme is the horrors of slavery that can be seen also apart from the African American community whether it exists in a communist government or a fascist, military dictatorship or in a "democracy" such as the USA. I am halfway through this nonfiction and it is quite difficult to stomach (as a lot of it reads much worse than a horror film) such as inept doctors performing human experimentation (i.e., gynecological surgery, unecessary limb removal, etc.) on live southern US slaves without the use of anesthesia on the slave patients during the 19th Century. Supposedly, according to this book, this was done to instill fear to prevent a slave rebellion and unethical doctors that did these horrific experiments were promoted. One unethical medical doctor of that time period is currently seen by the medical community with a statue of himself on Central Park's Fifth Avenue (New York City actually had the largest African slave trade due to the ports, and shipped many to the southern states). Mentioned is that the doctors could have been ethical and not abused patients, and could have used anesthesia on those that needed surgery, but subjugation of African Americans for slavery was a major factor. Most of the heinous human rights crimes against African American originated and was worse in the southern states making one think that southerners are to blame for most of it, and that when they go into trades such as the FBI or CIA, that they further their subjugation of those they consider inferior or want to enslave through secret experimentation through those agenices in the USA and abroad. I actually had heard of many of these stories in this nonfiction prior to reading this book, but this book has a lot of information that I was unaware of. As with other human rights issues, it seems to start from the top down, lousy government/presidential leadership that does not protect all of the people and does not set a standard of good ethics, and the many do-gooders that did not do more to prevent the horrors. This nonfiction makes one think about what may have happened to African slaves in South America at the hands of the medical community there in the 19th Century, what may be happening/happened in communist countries, fascist countries, etc. It also causes one to see the whole slavery scene as some sort of demonic existence that feeds on its own miseries. and likes to be displayed in statues... Other nonfiction I recommend: "Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant," by Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 2009).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not for the faint hearted. Ms. Washington has done her research, verified her findings and authenticated all of the information presented in this book. Her professional credentials validate her as an author and researcher and her passion guided her to put her findings in this book for the world to gain from her efforts. Denise Grady pointed out in her NY Times January 23, 207 article, White Doctors, Black Subjects: Abuse Disguised as Research, 'Even so, Ms. Washington implies that the 'AIDS' vaccine did have promise for minorities but was abandoned purely because it did not help whites. If there is evidence to justify sinking more money into this vaccine, she 'Ms. Washington' does not provide it.' Maybe Ms. Washington could have written more on the details of some of the findings of the modern experiments but I believe the book definitely gives the readers more than a taste of the atrocities levied on people of African descent in America. Medical Apartheid is factually written by a person who has diligently researched the topics and issues addressed in the book. She leaves no stone unturned and not only points you in the direction to find out more on your own but takes you there and waits for you to see the facts for yourself. Medical Apartheid is not for the faint hearted but it should open much needed dialogue in the African American community because we are dying, no killing ourselves because we shy away from getting proper medical care. Read this book for yourself and share the information with your elders and those generations following your lead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very intersting reading. If you like history & medicine you will really enjoy this book. A lot of fact that are given in this book I had never heard of before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Book: MEDICAL APARTHIED, first came to my attention recently when I viewed the author, Harriet Washington, in an interview about the book on the News Program ' Dmocracy Now' The interview can be viewed or the transcript read at: democracynow.org She was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Miss Washington is a brilliant and eloquent scholar who took the audience step by step documenting the horrific atrocities of medical experimentation on African Amercians and people of color. It was disclosed that this book is the only one of its kind in this genre. It seems destined to become a classic in the field and heralds the arrival of Miss Washington as one of the leading scholars in this area where she has devoted much of her career. Perhaps, an unintended consequence of this book is that it opens an unfiltered window into understanding the psychology of racism in a way that has rarely been done before. It unmasks the chilling reality that society has to defined as set of people less than human in order to sacrifice 'those people' on the altar of 'scientific Progress'. No doubt this scholarly work may add perspectives and inquiries in the related fields of Critical Race Theory among others. For the actively engaged citizen, this book may be indespensible for although Miss Washington's book documents the history of medical experimentation on African Americans, this problem in by no means solved. She indicates that a 1996 law still allows TODAY, medical experimentation unkwowingly and without consent on persons visiting the emergency rooms of America. Thus, Miss Washington's book my serve as a basis for a serious public policy discussion in the area of human experimentation, research, Race, consent and medical ethics with our elected officials in government.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know what book the reviewer who gave this a 2 rating read¿oh, that's right, he DIDN'T READ IT, after all. No wonder he is anonymous. By the way, the New York Times Science Times review he cites was glowing and positive. The non-reading reviewer gives a misleading description of the New York Times review which says that she is the right person to have written this important book. But I had already gone out and bought the book after reading the Publishers Weekly and Kirkus reviews, because the topic is intriguing and every one of the reviews of this book was laudatory, just full with praise. In fact, I have been reading rave reviews of this book in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones and Kirkus rviews and Publishers Weekly which named it one of the best books of the year. But the naysaying reviewer probably did not read these, either. The author trained as a research fellow in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and studied at Harvard School of Public Health and Stanford. She offers a very careful, sophisticated analysis of many medical topics . Medical Apartheid is very copiously documented with medical- journal articles, historical records and original writings by researchers, admitting wroingdoing in their own words. IF YOU READ THE BOOK, you see that she offered a more nuanced analysis of the AIDS vaccine debate and ethics that the NYT reviewer seems not to have understood. She is also not against medical research, she states this very, very clearly in the book. In sum this is a detailed informative thought-provoking book, very compellingly written. Although it is not always easy to read about the abuses , it was certainly worth it. A profound and important work, as everyone who has read it agrees.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is defiantly a must read for everyone. You will really view the medical field differently.
She_vus More than 1 year ago
This book is very informative, easy to read, excellent for research. If you want to know the truth about healthcare, why we need a reform, you need to read this book!
MHMD2B More than 1 year ago
I have learned a lot from reading this book. Reading this book has shown me that there are many things that I have to learn about this country and world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a doctor and a researcher, and this book opened my eyes to a shameful side of my profession and of American society that I never knew. As Harriet Washington writes, we have to come to terms with the past and understand it in order to create a more hopeful future. Reading this book I now better understand the distrust that many African American patients have of the medical and research establishment. I'm confident that knowing this history will allow me and many others to take these concerns more seriously and help mend this terrible and needless division. Having read the book, and from my perspective as a medical professional, I would just like to echo the praise in the Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly reviews above. This an important, groundbreaking book that deserves its having been named one of the best books of the year. This book will surely ruffle some feathers in the medical establishment and make some of us defensive. However, we have to take this book and the information in it seriously. The author's credentials are solid. She has been affiliated with Harvard in the medical ethics and public health departments, and at the University of Tuskegee in bioethics. She cites articles she has written on this subject going back many years, and the book is meticulously documented for those of us who want to look up articles and probe even further. In sum, I am grateful to the author for reminding me of how important medical ethics rules, codes and protections for patients and research subjects are. For those of us who grumble about these sometimes because, well, they make our job harder in some ways--reading this book will 'cure' that feeling. It will remind us why it's absolutely critical that we uphold these protections for our patients and research participants. And for the rest of America--if you're curious to discover a fuller history of our country and how a pattern of abuse affects relationships between American communities even today, this book will fill a major gap. Acknowledging the past is better than covering up a wound until it festers. I sincerely hope 'Medical Apartheid' leads us all--whatever tint our skin and whatever our personal history--toward understanding and healing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago