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Controlling Human Heredity (Control of Nature) Reprint Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1573923439
ISBN-10: 1573923435
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an excellent book and deserves a wide readership."

-Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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Product Details

  • Series: Control of Nature
  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Humanity Books; Reprint edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573923435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573923439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Diane Paul has produced a readable and brief introduction to the history of eugenic thought. After an excellent overview chapter, Paul proceeds chronologically from Francis Galton and social Darwinism through twentieth century campaigns for sterilization and immigration restriction in the name of eugenic reform. Paul convincingly argues that eugenics has been used by proponents of a variety of causes and political persuasions, left and right. With announcements every week of the discovery of the gene for some ailment, Paul's book is both timely and important. As the debates over cloning, genetic screening, or gene therapy continue, this book will provide a much needed historical context that can only help as we reflect on today's eugenics.
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Format: Paperback
This concise book is a fine overview of the history of eugenics. It is largely chronologically organized and focused particularly on the USA and Britain. Paul covers the scientific roots of eugenics, its complex relationships with differing political movements, its interpenetration with demographic concerns about declining middle and upper class birth rates, the fate of eugenics movements in the 40s and 50s, and the relationship of modern medical genetics to eugenics. Paul starts with the widespread and to modern ears, rather naive, hereditarianism of the late 19th century and the enormous impact of Darwinism. These ideas extended across society but with very complex results. Paul takes pains to describe the great variety of ideas and motivations associated with eugenics. The evolution of eugenic ideas is quite complex and aspects of eugenics were appropriated by both conservative and reformist political movements. Paul does a nice job of concisely narrating the complex history. The impact of changes in genetics and their complex relationship to eugenics is discussed also. There is a lot of interesting detail in this book. The idea of sexual selection, for example, drove some reform efforts. Paul makes the interesting observation that the most deplorable eugenic practices were associated with the financial problems of the 1930s. The relationship of the eugenics movement to modern medical genetics and the considerable differences between medical genetics and many prior versions of eugenics is delineated well.

As a concise overview, this book is excellent. Some minor drawbacks are the focus on American and British genetics. The German experience is covered only briefly, mainly in relationship to American-British eugenics.
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Format: Paperback
It is interesting (strange actually) that theauthor chose to present an inherently historicaltopic in a non-chronological format. The book is instead organized as a series of (IMHO arbitrary) topics, and the subject is analyzed in turn from the perspective of each. In fact, there is a great deal of redundency from "topic" to "topic", so much so in fact that reading any 20 pages of the book are as good as reading the whole. Still, those 20 pages would constitute a good introduction to the subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. Smooth reading and great flow from chapter to chapter.
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By Deee on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When the book arrived, it was bent and dented on the front cover, binding, and backside, almost to the point of ripping the pages. Actually, the spine has a small rip through it already; however, the rest of the pages remain sufficient. I do not recall if I bought the book new or used, but there is a "new book" sticker on it. If I bought it new, I would be very dissatisfied by the condition of the book I received it in. If used, which I am assuming as a "benefit of the doubt", then I am moderately dissatisfied. In either case, not one of my happy customer moments...
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