Review of John Glad’s “Jewish Eugenics”

Jewish Eugenics, by John Glad. Washington, DC: Wooden Shore Publishers, 2011; 464pp. (Downloadable at either www.whatwemaybe or These sites also have Glad’s Future Human Evolution.)

John Glad begins Jewish Eugenics by noting that “much of what might be termed  ‘accepted eugenics narrative’ is in crass discordance with the historical facts” (p. 8). In other words, we are about to enter one of those academic minefields where “truth” is rigorously cleansed to make sure it is compatible with ethnic interests. Indeed, “writing books about Jews used to be a far easier undertaking than it is today, with Jewish anxieties over ‘anti-Semitism’ having been so elevated as to render dispassionate scholarly discourse nearly impossible” (p. 8).

I am not so sure that dispassionate scholarship is impossible, but it is surely the case that findings that diverge from the self-image desired by any ethnic group will surely be vigorously contested by academic activists or, more probably, consigned to oblivion. Dr. Glad assures me that in his case, it is the latter, writing of his frustration at the silence that has greeted his work. Welcome to the club.

As a university professor, Glad is quite attuned to the politics of having a good career. Critics of eugenics, like the notorious Ashley Montagu (a disciple of Franz Boas), get fat honoraria for delivering superficial, factually challenged lectures sponsored by numerous academic departments and programs. (Glad characterizes a lecture by Montagu as “an impressive demonstration of indoctrination” [p. 91].) On the other hand, those who defend eugenics “are subjected to academic shunning” (p. 91), their books are not used in classes and not purchased by academic libraries. They get no invitations to attend conferences or deliver lectures. Read more