‘Reckless Hands' looks at state's history with eugenics

By Stephen E. Reel Published: August 3, 2008
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Not coincidentally, this was the year Nazis were trying to eradicate the Jewish race on the theory of natural inferiority. Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas can produce horrible consequences. Yet, as late as the 1960s, more than 100,000 people had been sterilized under U.S. federal health and welfare programs, the author writes.

Nourse, a law college professor at Emory University, provides a fascinating story of gritty and determined Oklahoma lawyers who took Skinner's case to the nation's highest court. This book should appeal to general readers of Oklahoma history and those interested in the modern science of genetics, which likewise promises a better future through the selection of desirable genetic traits. Will the history of human engineering repeat itself?

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