Paperback / softback
January 4, 2022
9781421443188
English
424
36 b&w illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.3 Pounds (US)
1.3 Pounds (US)
$34.95 USD, £26.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
February 1, 2022
9781421443195
9781421443188
English
424
36 b&w illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$34.95 USD, £26.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Three Generations, No Imbeciles, updated edition

Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell

"Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Few lines from U.S. Supreme Court opinions are as memorable as this declaration by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in the landmark 1927 case Buck v. Bell. The ruling allowed states to forcibly sterilize residents in order to prevent "feebleminded and socially inadequate" people from having children. It is the only time the Supreme Court endorsed surgery as a tool of government policy. Though Buck set the stage for more than sixty thousand involuntary sterilizations in the United States and was cited at the Nuremberg trials in defense of Nazi sterilization experiments, it has never been overturned.

It has been more than a decade since Paul A. Lombardo's classic Three Generations, No Imbeciles first exposed the Buck case's fraudulent roots. During that time, several of the remaining twentieth-century eugenic sterilization statutes have finally been repealed, and reparations to sterilization survivors have been paid in two states. Discussion of the Buck case has once again engendered controversy in the courts. The Wisconsin Supreme Court invoked Buck most recently in a debate over the power of the state to enact restrictions on citizens and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, and the US Supreme Court cited Three Generations, No Imbeciles in arguments over the newest state laws seeking to limit access to abortion.

This updated edition collects and analyzes information related to events and trends discussed in the earlier volume and includes a completely new afterword, "Looking Back at Buck," that explains how the case remains a key feature of public discourse about disability, government power, and reproductive rights. It also presents restored copies of the letters of Carrie Buck and points readers to an online archive of legal documents, images, and other material relevant to the case. The book remains a key resource for law school faculties, legal and medical historians, and anyone with an interest in the history of reproduction in the United States.

"Startling."—Reason

"Compelling and well-researched . . . Three Generations, No Imbeciles gives Carrie Buck's long-untold story the attention it deserves."—Harvard Law Review

"Three Generations provides valuable, new, and timely revelations for students and professional scholars across many disciplines."—Disability Studies Quarterly

"Meticulously detailed and researched history . . . this book is enjoyable, thought provoking, and troubling in equal measure. I highly recommend it."—Psychiatric Services

About the Author

Paul A. Lombardo is a Regents' Professor and the Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law at Georgia State University. The author of A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era, he has played a key role, as both a historian and a lawyer, in the movement to solicit state apologies and legislative denunciations of past eugenics laws.

Reviews

"Law professor and historian Paul Lombardo does a superb job of revealing, for the first time, all the facts in the infamous Buck v. Bell case of the 1920s, the Supreme Court decision ratifying Virginia's compulsory sterilization of 'feebleminded' people."—Publishers Weekly (starred review), reviewing a previous edition

"Overall, a fascinating book on one of the darker decisions in US law. An excellent addition to collections on US constitutional law, history, and reproductive rights."—Choice, reviewing a previous edition

"For almost 30 years, Lombardo has tried to uncover the full story of the wrongs."—USA Today, reviewing a previous edition

"Highly recommended for academic, public, and law libraries."—Criminal Law Library Blog, reviewing a previous edition

"An engrossing look at a shameful case."—Booklist, reviewing a previous edition

"Lombardo tells a compelling and heavily documented story of injustice to society's less fortunate citizens. His sympathy for the abused is evident, but that does not turn Three Generations, No Imbeciles into a polemic . . . Armed with knowledge from this excellent book, we can hope we never return to the mistakes of our past."—Internet Review of Books, reviewing a previous edition

"The book is lucidly written, well researched, thorough, and provocative . . . Three Generations, No Imbeciles is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of Buck v. Bell and its implications for ethics, law and public policy."—New England Journal of Medicine, reviewing a previous edition

"Lombardo reminds us that the same incentives to improve public health and lower tax burdens exist today."—Pathophilia, reviewing a previous edition

"Startling."—Reason, reviewing a previous edition

"A sad and fascinating book . . . With his legal and historical background, Lombardo is particularly suited to give us a book that explains a surprisingly ignored injustice, its antecedents and consequences, and helps us to think about the ongoing struggle to find a healthy balance between privacy and government power."—History News Network, reviewing a previous edition

"This book is a legal and historical masterpiece, combining meticulous ethical analysis with a liveliness that belies its scholarly roots and exhaustive footnotes and research."—PsycCRITIQUES, reviewing a previous edition

"Compelling and well-researched . . . Three Generations, No Imbeciles gives Carrie Buck's long-untold story the attention it deserves."—Harvard Law Review, reviewing a previous edition

"In a very readable 279 pages, Paul A. Lombardo sets forth the facts about the eugenics movement in the United States."—Virginia Lawyer, reviewing a previous edition

"Meticulously researched . . . As Lombardo conclusively demonstrates, those who sought to have Buck sterilized did not let the facts get in the way of the story the law required them to tell."—Commonweal, reviewing a previous edition

"Meticulously detailed and researched history . . . this book is enjoyable, thought provoking, and troubling in equal measure. I highly recommend it."—Psychiatric Services, reviewing a previous edition

"Three Generations provides valuable, new, and timely revelations for students and professional scholars across many disciplines."—Disability Studies Quarterly, reviewing a previous edition

"Most thorough examination to date . . . Readers will be both intrigued and disturbed by what they encounter."—H-Law, H-Net Reviews, reviewing a previous edition

"What makes Lombardo's analysis so important is that issues about the fate of our mutant genes, about the use of technologies to monitor pregnancies at risk for birth defects, and alternatives to relying on chance alone are subverted by our fear of eugenics."—Quarterly Review of Biology, reviewing a previous edition

"The struggle for justice goes on. Bioethicists typically ask 'ought' questions, but not all follow up with activism. More bioethicists should accept the social activist role. Paul Lombardo demonstrates exactly how it can be done."—American Journal of Bioethics, reviewing a previous edition

"Heartbreaking and riveting . . . There is likely to be no better account of Buck v. Bell than Lombardo's book."—Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, reviewing a previous edition

"A remarkable work of investigation and narrative synthesis, Lombardo connects Buck v. Bell to a broader debate over the place of eugenics in American life and law . . . Having amassed over two decades of research, including interviewing Carrie Buck, Lombardo is uniquely qualified to tell this story."—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, reviewing a previous edition

"Three Generations, No Imbeciles manages to be both a meticulously researched work of history and a compelling story."—Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, reviewing a previous edition

"A powerful commentary on the dangers of politicized medicine and social engineering."—Magill Book Reviews, reviewing a previous edition

"This painstakingly researched book will surely be the definitive study of Buck v. Bell for many years to come."—American Historical Review, reviewing a previous edition

"As a historical endeavor, it is rich and rewarding, permitting the reader a broad understanding of the social, cultural and legal context for the case that inspired Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous quotation, 'Three generations of imbeciles are enough.' . . . Equally important as the excavation of this history is the manner in which Lombardo's writing surfaces the emotional consequences of fertility-related policies."—Journal of Legal Education, reviewing a previous edition

"Lombardo does an excellent job of meticulously laying out the sham nature of Buck v. Bell, and by the end of the text, the reader is left with no doubt that the case, which has never been overturned, was mired in deceit . . . Fascinating nuggets of racial politics, class inequality, and fear of the female body."—Law & Society Review, reviewing a previous edition

"Lombardo convincingly shows that the eugenics of the 1920s, despite professional reversals and government apologies, still echoes in discussions of designer babies, grumbling about the costs of social programs and attempts to calculate the financial value of life."—Nursing History Review, reviewing a previous edition

"This book is suitable for any audience interested in the history of the eugenics movement in the United States."—Metapsychology, reviewing a previous edition

"Three Generations, No Imbeciles chronicles Buck's tragic life and reviews the larger history of American eugenics in a moving narrative that will appeal to a broad audience of lay readers interested in controversies over reproductive rights, public health, science, and the law."—Isis, reviewing a previous edition

"Compelling . . . brilliant . . . and refreshing."—Comptes Rendus Biologies, reviewing a previous edition

"Lombardo does full justice to this incredibly important and heartbreakingly tragic Supreme Court decision. His book places in stark relief a horrific miscarriage of justice and shows in full detail how the power of the judicial system can be used to undermine, corrupt, and ultimately destroy any vestige of equal protection under the law for poor, defenseless people in our society. It is a 'must read' for anyone who cares about the rule of law and the cause of social justice."—James H. Jones, author of Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, reviewing a previous edition

The Johns Hopkins University Press
updated edition

9781421443188 : three-generations-no-imbeciles-2nd-edition-lombardo
Paperback / softback
424 Pages
$34.95 USD
9781421443195 : three-generations-no-imbeciles-2nd-edition-lombardo
Electronic book text
424 Pages
$34.95 USD

Other Titles by Paul A. Lombardo

A Century of Eugenics in America

edited by Paul A. Lombardo, with contributions by Maxwell J. Mehlman, Angela Logan, Jason Lantzer, Alexandra M. Stern, Gregory Dorr, Edward McCabe, Linda McCabe, Johanna Schoen, Elof Axel Carlson
Jan 2011 - Indiana University Press
$26.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in MEDICAL / History

Good Formulas

Ruth Yun-Ju Chen
Jul 2023 - University of Washington Press
$105.00 USD - Hardback
$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Lazaretto

David Barnes
May 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Disability Dialogues

Andrew J. Hogan
Nov 2022 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$55.00 USD - Hardback
$55.00 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in History of medicine

Good Formulas

Ruth Yun-Ju Chen
Jul 2023 - University of Washington Press
$105.00 USD - Hardback
$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Lazaretto

David Barnes
May 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Personality Disorders

Allan V. Horwitz
Mar 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Electronic book text