- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074324513X
- ISBN-13: 978-0743245135
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The State Boys Rebellion Paperback – April 5, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment shockingly demonstrated that the world's most powerful narcotic might well be unlimited power over the powerless. Emancipation movements the world over have also taught us that even the most abjectly powerless will, given enough time, fight for their freedom and dignity. These two precepts are at the heart of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist D'Antonio's startling account of the wholesale incarceration of the mentally retarded during the middle decades of the last century. The bastard child of progressivism and eugenics, the institutionalization by the 1930s of needy children with below-average IQs was a well-established part of the legal system. The effect of this was to consign many children to overcrowded and underfunded medical prisons where physical, emotional and sexual abuse was rampant-and quite literally without end. D'Antonio wisely chooses one institution, the Walter E. Fernald School for the Feebleminded, in Massachusetts, where a group of boys, utterly (and correctly) convinced of their lack of abnormal status, after nearly two decades of confinement, in 1957 instigated a violent uprising in Ward 22, the prisonlike facility where misbehaving inmates were periodically sent. Thanks to their indomitable conviction that their institutionalization was unjust and the growing awareness on the part of certain sympathetic outsiders over several decades, these young men were finally able to help put an end to this ghastly system. D'Antonio (Atomic Harvest, etc.) deftly combines detailed archival research and extensive personal interviews to paint a richly nuanced picture of a horrifying and shamefully underexposed part of our country's recent history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
DreamWorks Pictures recently purchased the film rights to State Boys Rebellion, the retelling of one of America’s most shameful episodes in history. Fernald was no anomaly. Similar institutions, fostering more than 250,000 mostly normal (if unprivileged) children, survived through the 1970s. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist D’Antonio, author of acclaimed books including Atomic Harvest, recounts this heartbreaking story through archival research and interviews with former State Boys and Fernald administrators. D’Antonio generally strikes a fair balance between the State Boys’ stories and the larger context that produced “the moron as a public danger”—the Progressive-era reforms that posited “subnormal” children as subspecies and the gross misuse of intelligence and radiation testing during the Cold War. “Most troubling” of all, D’Antonio writes, “is that it all began with a grand desire to do good.” As he shows in simple, effective prose, this “good” had vast consequences, ranging from the inhumane treatment of the individual to Nazi ideology. State Boys is, The Washington Post notes, a “crusading book” and “powerful cautionary tale.” At heart, it’s also something more: a courageous tale of children asserting their humanity and changing their fate through small acts of resistance.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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