Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Eugenic Nation: Faults & Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Eugenic Nation: Faults & Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America

Article excerpt

Eugenic Nation: Faults & Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America Alexandra Minna Stern. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005; 347pp, US$24.95 (paper)

Alexandra Stern has created a book of great importance for the study of public health in North America. Some might find that claim improbable, especially when applied to a historical exposition on a particularly dark episode. On the contrary, this book serves as an erudite documentary about eugenics in California from the late 18th through to the 21st centuries. This book also makes us critically review our current research questions in the field of public health.

Stern, on the first aspect, offers us an exhaustive narrative of the development of eugenics in the United States. The interactions between conceptions of race, ethnicity, gender, nationalism, health, social class and religion are all well accounted for. If you are looking for this kind of narrative, no better can be found. On the second aspect, Stern offers the current generation of public health researchers some brilliant insights from the past which should contextualize some of our more pressing current health issues. …

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