In the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, it was widely assumed that society ought to foster the breeding of those who possessed favorable traits and discourage the breeding of those who did not. Controlled human breeding, or "eugenics" as it was called, was a movement with broad support that lasted into the 1930s. In this concise historical account, the author answers the questions of why eugenics, the search for means to propage only "good genes," was so attractive earlier in the the twentieth century, why it then fell into disrepute, and whether it has returned today in the new guise of genetic counseling.
Diane B. Paul is the author of Controlling Human Heredity, The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature-Nurture Debate, and The PKU Paradox: A Short History of a Genetic Disease. She has been a visiting scholar in the ethics and health program at Harvard University, an associate in zoology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, and professor emerita of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
"This is an excellent book and deserves a wide readership."
-Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences