A timely and gripping history of the controversial eugenics movement in America–and the scientists, social reformers and progressives who supported it.In Better for All the World, Harry Bruinius charts the little known history of eugenics in America–a movement that began in the early twentieth century and resulted in the forced sterilization of more than 65,000 people. Bruinius tells the stories of Emma and Carrie Buck, two women trapped in poverty who became the test case in the 1927 supreme court decision allowing forced sterilization for those deemed unfit to procreate. From the reformers who turned local charities into government-run welfare systems promoting social and moral purity, to the influence the American policies had on Nazi Germany’s development of “racial hygiene,” Bruinius masterfully exposes the players and legislation behind one of America’s darkest secrets.
The disturbing history of the eugenics movement is not a secret, despite the subtitle of Harry Bruinius's highly readable new book. But it should surely be better known by the public, and Bruinius, writing in a novelistic style, has made an admirable effort to convey the "passions and unfulfilled longings of individuals, and the conspiracies and betrayals, and ironies that stand behind a scientific program to purify the human race though genetic engineering."