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Eugenics and Sterilization In America

Penguin Books

Talk of a "master race" can quickly turn the blood cold, conjuring up memories of the Third Reich in Germany.  But the concept of improving the human race through eugenics was quite popular with some influential people in our country early in the 20th century. 

Even, as it turns out, the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court ruled in favor of a state that wanted to sterilize a young woman, because she was considered inferior for breeding.  The vote was not close. 

Former New York Times and Time magazine staffer Adam Cohen explores the case and its implications in his book Imbeciles.  Adam Cohen joins us with the fruits of his research.  


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Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.