Alibi V.12 No.45 • Nov 6-12, 2003 

Art Article

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

Four Walls Eight Windows
hardcover
$27

For obvious reasons, comparisons between Nazi Germany and the United States usually sound trite and over-inflated. The horrors of the Third Reich have been dissected so thoroughly, and Hitler has been so completely (and justly) demonized, that saying the U.S. was, or is, similar to Nazi Germany sounds idiotic. Yet in Edwin Black's new book the distinguished journalist reveals the sad history of our nation's eugenics movement, a movement that Hitler cited as an influence on his own disgusting racial policies. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, lots of rich, elite assholes, like the Carnegies, the Rockefellers and Alexander Graham Bell, promoted the idea that physically and mentally impaired people should be sterilized. This, they believed, would purify the species in much the same way as Hitler sought to purify the so-called Aryan race. Black explores the way eugenics transformed into the more respectable but ethically tricky branch of science known as genetics. By most accounts, War Against the Weak is an insightful, detailed look at our nation's disturbing and globally influential attitudes toward the powerless in society. Very creepy stuff.