War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

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Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004 - History - 550 pages
Publisher's description: History has recorded the horrors of ethnic cleansing, but until now, America's own efforts to create a master race have been largely overlooked. In War Against the Weak, investigative journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller IBM and the Holocaust Edwin Black reveals that eugenics-sham science made up to justify ethnic cleansing-had an incredible foothold in America in the early twentieth century, and was in fact championed and funded by America's social, political, and academic elite. Even more shocking, Black traces the flow of ideas, research, and money from Cold Spring Harbor (Long Island) to Germany, in the process proving that it was America's eugenics program that gave Hitler the scientific justification to escalate his virulent anti-Semitism into all-out genocide. Black's team of dozens of researchers scoured scores of archives in four countries, unearthing some 50,000 documents, which collectively prove that the eugenics agenda was funded by esteemed philanthropies such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Institution; taught at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton; lauded by leading progressive thinkers such as Margaret Sanger, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Woodrow Wilson; and even sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court. With this kind of backing, American eugenics was quickly able to move beyond the theoretical in its quest to eliminate social "undesirables," getting cruel and racist laws enacted in 27 U.S. states. Ultimately, more than 60,000 Americans were sterilized against their will, and tens of thousands of others were institutionalized and/or denied the right to marry whom they chose. In the last year or so, governors from five states-Virginia, Oregon, California, North Carolina, and South Carolina-have apologized for their states' official efforts to wipe out their unwanted citizens. Surprisingly, the victims of eugenics weren't limited to the groups that have regularly suffered from prejudice in the U.S.; they were also the poor, epileptics, alcoholics, people who wore glasses, petty criminals, the mentally ill, and those deemed "shiftless." War Against the Weak details how those at the forefront of the movement worked tirelessly to establish the biological rationales for persecution, with the goal of continuously eradicating the "lower tenth" until only a pure Nordic super race remained. To achieve that end, eugenics contaminated many otherwise worthy causes, from the birth control movement to the development of psychology and IQ testing, and beyond. After Nuremberg declared eugenics to be genocide and a crime against humanity, the American eugenics movement did not disappear; it simply went underground, changed its name, and reappeared as "human genetics." War Against the Weak closes by bringing its analysis into the present day, pointing out that our increasing knowledge in the realm of genetic selection and gene-mapping is rife with opportunity for misuse.

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User Review  - darylanderson - www.librarything.com

I came to this book not entirely ignorant of America's shameful role in eugenics, but before reading this book, I was unaware of the extent of that role. Essentially, the U.S. provided Hitler the ... Read full review

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User Review  - Chris_El - LibraryThing

A difficult book to read. Not because it is poorly written. But because it is so disappointing to read about the American history of oppressing the weak. The pseudo-science of eugenics is the ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Edwin Black is the award-winning, New York Times and international investigative author of 80 bestselling editions in 14 languages in 61 countries, as well as scores of newspaper and magazine articles in the leading publications of the United States, Europe and Israel. With a million books in print, his work focuses on genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropy abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy and historical investigation. Editors have submitted Black's work nine times for Pulitzer Prize nomination, and in recent years he has been the recipient of a series of top editorial awards. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies worldwide. For his work, Black has been interviewed on hundreds of network broadcasts from Oprah, the Today Show, CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports and NBC Dateline in the US to the leading networks of Europe and Latin American. His works have been the subject of numerous documentaries, here and abroad. All of his books have been optioned by Hollywood for film, with three in active production. His latest film is the screen adaptation War Against the Weak, based on his book of the same name. Black's speaking tours include hundreds of events in dozens of cities each year, appearing at prestigious venues from the Library of Congress in Washington to the Simon Wiesenthal Institute in Los Angeles in America, and in Europe from London's British War Museum and Amsterdam's Institute for War Documentation to Munich's Carl Orff Hall. He is the editor of The Cutting Edge News, which receives more than 1.5 million visits monthly. Black's ten award-winning bestselling books are IBM and the Holocaust (2001), British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement (2011), The Farhud (2010), Nazi Nexus (2009), The Plan (2008), Internal Combustion (2006), Banking on Baghdad (2004), War Against the Weak (2003), The Transfer Agreement (1984), and a 1999 novel, Format C: . His enterprise and investigative writings have appeared in scores of newspapers from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune to the Sunday Times of London, Frankfurter Zeitung and the Jerusalem Post, as well as scores of magazines as diverse as Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Reform Judaism, Der Spiegel, L'Express, BusinessWeek and American Bar Association Journal. Black's articles are syndicated worldwide by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post Syndicate, JTA and Feature Group News Service.

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