Synopses & Reviews
During the Cold War, an alliance between American scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and the US military pushed the medical establishment into ethically fraught territory. Against Their Will reveals the little-known history of unethical and dangerous medical experimentation on children in the United States. Through rare interviews and the personal correspondence of renowned medical investigators, Hornblum, Newman, and Dober document how children from infants to teenagers, became human research subjects in terrifying experiments. They were drafted as "volunteers" to test vaccines, doused with ringworm, subjected to electric shock, given lobotomies, and exposed to chemical warfare agents. This groundbreaking book shows how institutional superintendents influenced by eugenics often turned these children over to scientific researchers without a second thought. Based on years of archival research, this is an important and disturbing look at the dark underbelly of American medical history.
"In this horrifying and painstakingly documented history, Hornblum (Acres of Skin), Penn State associate professor Newman, and medical writer Dober examine the stories of victims of poorly regulated medical experimentation in America in the 1950s and Ã¢Â€Â˜60s to illustrate the chilling legacy of negative eugenics the sickening imperative to prevent the survival and reproduction of the least fit and the push by the 20th-century medical establishment to find cures and treatments by using children as human guinea pigs. Thousands of institutionalized children 'cheaper than lab animals and less problematic to deal with than adults' became unwitting subjects of scientific investigation, and their stories are haunting: in order to better understand hepatitis, for example, scientists fed feces laced with the virus to mentally retarded 'volunteers.' The resulting medical breakthroughs and vaccines are now deemed indispensable, but their price was far too high. Ted Chabasinski, snatched from a foster home and dumped in Bellevue Hospital for shock treatments at the age of six wrote years later: 'The little boy who had been taken there to be tortured didn't exist anymore. All that was left of him was a few scraps of memory and a broken spirit...' At least now, their voices are heard. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Horrifying and painstakingly documented history . . . [of] the chilling legacy of negative eugenics."—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Allen M. Hornblum is the author of five books, including Acres of Skin and Sentenced to Science. His work has been featured on CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, NPRs Fresh Air, BBC World Service, and The New York Times. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.Judith Lynn Newman is an associate professor of Human Development at Pennsylvania State University (Abington).Gregory J. Dober writes on medical issues for organizational newsletters such as Prison Legal News.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Introduction: “Theyd come for you at night.”
Chapter 1 - The Heroes of Science in the “Gilded Age of Medicine ”
Chapter 2 - Eugenics and the Devaluing of Institutionalized Children: “The elimination of defectives.”
Chapter 3 - World War II, Patriotism, and the Nuremberg Code: “It was a good code for barbarians.”
Chapter 4 - Impact of the Cold War on Human Experimentation: “There werent any guidelines as I can recall.”
Chapter 5 - Vaccines: ”Institutions for hydrocephalics and other similar unfortunates.”
Chapter 6 - Skin, Dietary, and Dental Studies: “The kids in these institutions are so desperate for affection.”
Chapter 7 - Radiation Experiments on boys: “The littlest dose of radiation possible.”
Chapter 8 - Psychological Treatment: “Lobotomy … is often the starting point in effective treatment.”
Chapter 9 - Psychological Abuse: “I call that brainwashing.”
Chapter 11 - Research Misconduct: “Science actually encourages deceit.”
Chapter 12 - Conclusion: Upholding Ethical Principles