THE HUMAN PEDIGREE by Anthony Smith

THE HUMAN PEDIGREE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Smith, author of The Body (1968), is a BBC reporter with a few annoying ""special report"" mannerisms: he's always telling you that he just explained X, or is about to consider a new aspect of Y, or is now going to direct some further attention to Z. His purpose here is to draw out the moral implications of modern genetics. As a factual guide this is pretty thin (and marred by arch effects intended to sweeten scientific pills), but it does keep loudly mentioning socio-ethical dilemmas from which most of us would rather shrink. Smith shows how drastically mankind has interfered with the process of natural selection, largely through medical ""progress"" that narrows the genetic basis of resistance to disease and perpetuates a host of congenital misfortunes that can be ""cured"" in individuals but will be amplified in the population at large by the progeny which, in a harsher age, would never have survived. Smith frankly though unhappily recommends a public eugenic policy to reconcile our need for reduced population with the simultaneous need to maintain control over the continuing human gene pool. A disturbing and controversial look at what could be an avidly exploited political issue before the end of the decade.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1975
Publisher: Lippincott