Sharp and timely study ... Rutherford traces a clear line from these racist theories – widely acted upon in US prewar sterilisation programmes – to the genocidal atrocities of nazism ... Rutherford makes the urgent case that we remain very far from any such competence and we should beware any politician that raises the idea ... Short, illuminating book.
A short book about a big subject ... It takes patience to trace the complicated web linking these ideas, and Rutherford does so with much-needed nuance and an absence of alarmism ... It’s frustrating that he tiptoes around some of the more difficult questions ... Control is persuasive, sensible and ultimately reassuring, but it is not complacent ... This book is a shot worth having.
Fizzy and pugnacious little book ... Rutherford’s account of this history is superbly horrific ... Where this book really shines, though, is in its fierce (and often very funny) demonstration of how this kind of thing is for the moment just a pipe dream, philosophical or otherwise ... The last third of the book is a brilliant primer.
Rutherford is an insider ... Rutherford’s book does not in fact attack the tools, just the assumptions and the men that made them ... Control covers a great deal of territory – much of it well travelled by historians ... What Rutherford offers, overall, is not new historical analysis or material but a daunting synthetic ability, along with a humane sensibility and the willingness to ask hypothetical questions ... A closer examination...might have further buttressed his points ... Rutherford is more moralist than historian; he peddles his moral sensibility in the context of his genetic expertise. He has guru-like traits. He tells us how to think.
Rutherford focuses less on the moral debate ... Instead he does what he does best, and asks whether the science behind such attempts even stacks up ... A strong and compelling riposte to all those who would see us merrily tinker with human genes and human lives.
Rutherford’s swift, well-written account of these fascinating scientific and moral issues is well worth a read. He avoids the big question of whether we should by arguing, persuasively, that we mostly can’t. Yet the reader is left with the suspicion that at some point...humanity will have to answer that question.
Divided into two distinct parts, Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics first outlines the history of eugenics, then lays out the scientific, ethical and moral arguments against it ... It is this very corruption, as Control clearly demonstrates, that makes eugenics’ followers unworthy to determine who is and isn’t worthy of life.
Stinging study ... Rutherford writes in a pugnacious, sometimes polemical style...while conveying the science in a lucid, down-to-earth way. The result is a stimulating critique of one of science’s most disgraceful chapters.