In Reckless Hands Skinner V. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics

ISBN-10: 0393065294
ISBN-13: 9780393065299
Edition: 2008
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: The disturbing, forgotten history of America's experiment with eugenics. In the 1920s and 1930s, thousands of men and women were sterilized at asylums and prisons across America. Believing that criminality and mental illness were inherited, state  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 7/17/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.166
Language: English

The disturbing, forgotten history of America's experiment with eugenics. In the 1920s and 1930s, thousands of men and women were sterilized at asylums and prisons across America. Believing that criminality and mental illness were inherited, state legislatures passed laws calling for the sterilization of "habitual criminals" and the "feebleminded." But in 1936, inmates at Oklahoma's McAlester prison refused to cooperate; a man named Jack Skinner was the first to come to trial. A colorful and heroic cast of charactersfrom the inmates themselves to their devoted, self-taught lawyerwould fight the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only after Americans learned the extent of another large-scale eugenics projectin Nazi Germanywould the inmates triumph. Combining engrossing narrative with sharp legal analysis, Victoria F. Nourse explains the consequences of this landmark decision, still vital todayand reveals the stories of these forgotten men and women who fought for human dignity and the basic right to have a family. 11 photographs.

Victoria F. Nourse received her JD degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently the Burrus-Bascom Professor of Criminal and Constitutional Law at the University of Wisconsin, she lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.

Prologue: An Intellectual Seduction
The Justice, the Governor, and the Dictator
The Brain Trust
Thoroughbreds
Heat and Love
White Trash
Skinner's Trial
The Supreme Court in 1937
Science in a Foreign Mirror: 1937-1941
Deciding Skinner
Epilogue: Failures of Modern Memory
Acknowledgments and Method
Notes
Index

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