five silhouettes of people  at the bottom of the cover and a colonial building

Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia

by Elizabeth Catte Author

In this highly disturbing, highly engaging book, author Elizabeth Catte takes an unsparing look at the history of eugenics in Virginia, and by extension America. Rather than seeking to frame this history - as so many others do - as simply a consequence of a different time and a different set of moral convictions, Catte is clear that the more than 8,000 forcible sterilizations performed in hospitals throughout Virginia in the 1920s was a direct product of white supremacy, a way of controlling 'troublesome' women, and an effort to remove impoverished people from the valuable land they lived on. Examining this legacy from today's viewpoint, Catte asks us to look at the contemporary manifestations of these same forces at work, and think about the ways in which this catastrophic moral failure reverberates in todays politics and policy. Another necessary corrective to American history, and an unrelenting attack on American culture's hagiographic tendencies.