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War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race Paperback – Sep 27 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (Sept. 27 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583214
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583211
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.5 x 5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 649 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #711,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mira de Vries TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 28 2011
Format: Hardcover
Black tells a totally different history of The Holocaust than the one that is in current academic fashion. An investigative journalist, he and his team of international researchers have diligently dug up thousands of documents and adroitly connected the dots.

What were the factors that led up to The Holocaust? Anti-semitism and racism of course, but there was nothing new about those. The other much overlooked factor is a false science.

Its methods were "guesswork, gossip, falsified information and polysyllabic academic arrogance" justified by a copious collection of records and "mathematical acrobatics". It was advocated by esteemed professors and elite universities. It was funded by the wealth of Carnegie, Rockefeller, and railroad magnate Harriman among others. It was endorsed by big names like Alexander Graham Bell, famous for inventing the telephone. It was sanctified by politicians, legislators, educators, social workers, and judges including Supreme Court Judge Oliver Wendall Holmes. Its philosophy claimed to draw on the work of the well-known monk Mendel and his experiments on the heredity of pea pods. The writings of Thomas Malthus and Herbert Spencer also influenced it. By the way, it was Spencer, not Darwin, who coined the phrase "Survival of the fittest". It was Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, who gave this pseudo-science its name: Eugenics.

It was also Galton, still today revered as a medical innovator, who suggested "wed[ding] ... biology to government action" starting with "a highly regulated marriage licensing process." Galton, too, was the one who advocated twin studies of mengele infamy. Galton's passion was collecting statistics, a field that today dominates medicine. Black calls him "a clever and compulsive counter".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Helen Barnes on April 4 2009
Format: Hardcover
I found this book fascinating and very disturbing. Mr. Black has shone a light on a very ugly side of history and his book should make people think twice before they give opinions about which lives are worth living. And while he focuses on the eugenics movement of yesteryear, everything in this book is relevant to today, as we are a society that still believes those with genetic deformities are disposable. An important and very relevant book.
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By Laura O'Reilly on March 24 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very detailed book. It's not a book that one could finished in a day or two, it took me a week to finish it, because it's full of so much information and details that you have to sit down after every chapter and process the information.
I never realize the impact and the part that America played in the German Eugenics program. American philanthropist Rockefeller and the Carnegie Institution paid for the racial eugenics scientist work in German.
Even after the Nazi came to power they still wrote letters back and forth and defended the Germany's Anti-Semitic laws, saying that it was all in the name of Eugenics.
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Format: Hardcover
...and have to say it was a GREAT READ! I'm going to keep this short, simple, and to the point; give this book a shot. I feel I've gained a very unique perspective of WWII and it's relationship to the US.
I was walking out of Barnes and Nobles only a week ago as my eyes grazed over the cover of the book on a shelf. Out of curiousity, I picked it up and was immediately engrossed by the first few pages. I venture to say any American would be, too. Edwin Black provides a clear, comprehensible history of not only eugenics, but the formation of modern genetics. You will uncover a largely untold piece of American history, as unbelievable and shocking as it may be. My friends wouldn't believe me when I shared the contents of this book with them; so I challenged them to read it. I finished it in under a week and am passing my copy along to them...I'm also taking the time to write this on Amazon...the book is that good.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating account of the eugenics movement that flourished in the United States during the first third of the twentieth century. With the help of an international team of researchers the author details the movement's history: creation of the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island; the leadership of poultry researcher Charles Davenport; extensive Harriman, Rockefeller, and Carnegie funding; state laws legalizing compulsory sterilization; widespread acceptance by college presidents, clergymen, mental health workers, school principals, and leading progressive thinkers such as Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, and Woodrow Wilson; its validation by the United States Supreme Court in 1927 when it voted 8 to 1 to uphold the constitutionality of Virginia's eugenic sterilization law; and much, much more.
The book's most dramatic and controversial conclusion is that the American eugenics movement fueled the triumph of Nazism in Germany and thereby helped bring on the Holocaust. As Black writes in his Introduction, "the scientific rationales that drove killer doctors at Auschwitz were first concocted on Long Island at the Carnegie Institution's eugenic enterprise at Cold Spring Harbor." To his credit he provides a great deal of evidence to make his contention plausible, if not totally convincing.
The extremes to which the Nazis took their eugenics--euthansia killings of "unfit" Germans and the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, and others--gave eugenics a bad name from which it never recovered. This important book sheds much needed light on one of the darkest and most bizarre chapters of American history.
Charles Patterson, Ph.D., author of ETERNAL TREBLINKA: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
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