Beta
X

10Feb

Control by Adam Rutherford review – a warning from history about eugenics

To know the story of this dark science is to inoculate ourselves against its being repeated, argues the science writer and broadcaster

This is a short book about a big subject, with a thorny history stretching from the Spartans and Plato’s Republic, all the way to present-day science and policymaking. A glance at the index gives some idea of its scope. Ancient Greece rubs shoulders with Avengers: Infinity War and the “Do Not Resuscitate” notices of the Covid-19 pandemic with the doctors’ trial at Nuremberg.

It takes patience to trace the complicated web linking these ideas, and Rutherford does so with much-needed nuance and an absence of alarmism. “For just over a century, we have referred to the deliberate crafting of society specifically by biological design with a word which was for half of its existence regarded as desirable, and for the other half, poisonous,” he writes. As a geneticist and author of books such as How to Argue with a Racist, Rutherford aims to distil a rounded, scientific analysis from the deeply tainted and overheated subject of eugenics.

Continue reading...

Related

Bi by Julia Shaw review – the past and present of a maligned minority

A tour of the science, culture and history of bisexuality that ranges from the vehemently political ...

Read More >

How Minds Change by David McRaney review

A fascinating exploration of how beliefs are formed ends up asking whether it’s always right to wan...

Read More >

The Social Lives of Animals by Ashley Ward review – be more bat

From to self-isolating bees to bonding baboons, lessons on cooperation from the animal worldVampire ...

Read More >

2022 in books: highlights for the year ahead

New writing from Ali Smith, Marlon James, Elena Ferrante and Jarvis Cocker – a taste of good things...

Read More >

The Sleeping Beauties by Suzanne O’Sullivan review – 21st century health mysteries

Sleeping sickness, strange behaviour and mass hysteria ... a neurologist makes sense of ‘psychosoma...

Read More >

Salena Godden: 'I’m a furious and emotional woman — when things pop up I have to talk’

The taboo-busting poet has written her first novel, Mrs Death Misses Death. She talks about missing ...

Read More >