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The Skull Measurer's Mistake: And Other Portraits of Men and Women Who Spoke Out Against Racismby Sven Lindqvist
Synopses & Reviews
In 1981, Stephen Jay Gould exposed the bad science behind nineteenth-century American studies that “proved” that Anglo-Saxons were superior because they had larger brains. In The Skull Measurer’s Mistake, Sven Lindqvist tells the story of Friedrich Tiedemann, the nineteenth-century German doctor who dared to speak out against such racist science when it was first practiced.
Often the history of racism is reduced to the study of racists. Less well known are the stories of those who argued and fought against prejudice and persecution. In this unique book, Sven Lindqvist, Swedish author of internationally acclaimed books on Africa, China, and Latin America, profiles more than twenty nineteenth-century men and women who, while not themselves victims of racism, went against the temper of the time to expose the many faces of prejudice.
Along with Tiedemann’s story, The Skull Measurer’s Mistake recounts the antiracist efforts of Benjamin Franklin, Helen Hunt, Joseph Conrad, Alexis de Tocqueville, and others whose names have been forgotten. Well-documented and rich in anecdote, Lindqvist’s book shows how racist arguments emerged—and reemerged—over time. At the book’s core is Lindqvist’s belief that knowledge of past debates about racism can help us defeat it now.
Book News Annotation:
Profiles some 20 19th-century men and women who spoke out against racism and the flaws behind racist science, including Benjamin Franklin, Helen Hunt, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Shows how racist arguments emerged and re-emerged over time and details intellectual struggles between racists and antiracists and the responses of public opinion. For general readers.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A Swedish author of internationally acclaimed books on Africa, China, and Latin America profiles more than twenty men and women who, while not themselves victims of racism, went againt the temper of the time to expose the many faces of prejudice. Well-documented and rich in anecdote, the book shows how racist arguments emerged and re-emerged over time.
About the Author
Sven Lindqvist has published more than thirty books, including “Exterminate All the Brutes”, The Skull Measurer’s Mistake, A History of Bombing, and Terra Nullius (all published by The New Press). He holds a PhD in the history of literature from Stockholm University, an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University, and an honorary professorship from the Swedish government. He lives in Stockholm.
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