Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (Hardcover)
How did an obscure academic idea pave the way to the Holocaust within just fifty years?
Inspired by Darwin’s ideas about evolution, the concept of race purification through eugenics arose in Victorian England and quickly spread to America, where it was embraced by presidents, funded by Gilded Age monopolists, and enshrined into racist American laws that became the ideological cornerstone of the Third Reich. Despite this horrific legacy, eugenics looms large today, suffusing our language and culture and echoing uneasily in discussions of modern gene editing techniques.
In Control, Adam Rutherford presents “a remarkable combination of intelligence, knowledge, insight and admirable political passion, on a serious moral problem in contemporary society.” (Carlo Rovelli). With disarming wit and scientific precision, he traces its intellectual origins and confronts the recurring question of whether eugenics could actually work. Control explains why eugenics remains so tempting to powerful people who wish to improve society through reproductive control, and the scientific impossibility of doing so.