PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...a vivid new book ... Okrent’s is largely an intellectual history—if we can use that term to describe the shoddy thinking of his subjects—of nativist ideology and ideologues from the mid-19th century to the first comprehensive immigration restriction law of 1924 ... Okrent’s discussion misses a major aspect of eugenics: anxiety about falling fertility among educated women ... chilling is Okrent’s documentation of American influence on Nazi \'race hygiene.\' As early as 1932 Walter Schultze of the Nazi euthanasia program called on German geneticists to \'heed the example\' of the United States ... bigotry was by no means buried by World War II. Its targets are fungible but it typically blames disadvantaged groups for problems more often created by privileged groups. It is a stream that has sometimes been forced underground, and some argue that polite, whispered racism is as bad as the loud kind. Okrent’s history belies that argument: Quiet bigotry should be condemned, but when it is shouted and legitimated by people with power and influence, it can become deadly.
R. Marie Griffith
PositiveThe New RepublicMoral Combat offers a concise and much-needed reminder of a liberal religious tradition with a distinguished record of defending women’s and sexual rights. Still, it would have been improved by a conclusion that could identify enduring themes in its case studies. A fuller discussion of funding would have complicated the story ... The book also neglects to ask why progress toward sexual freedom has been so uneven ... But these complaints about what a book doesn’t cover should not diminish the importance of what it does ... The story Griffith tells is crucial, particularly because America is such a religious country, and liberals need all the allies they can get.