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Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control…
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Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population (2008)

by Matthew Connelly

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A comprehensive history of the population control movement needed to be written. It still does. Tedious and in that awful style typical of modern US historians, it's smug and smart alecy in a way that is welcome at faculty parties but of little use to those who want to know the facts. Buy it with caution if must but if you're looking for the definitive work on the subject you'll be disappointed. ( )
  liamfoley | May 2, 2012 |
Basically a policy history of the population control movement, focused on various unsavory alliances and splits in largely Western (and nonwestern elite) groups largely interested in overbreeding by people who weren’t them, though always and increasingly in dialogue with advocates for improving economic security, women’s education, and women’s power to decide for themselves how many children they wanted to have. Today’s successors to the population control movement are largely from that group. Connelly follows the view from the movement, which means talking a lot about what the experts thought and then just telling us that they were wrong without too much discussion of just what the people who were refusing to become “acceptors” were thinking and doing. A strength of the book is that it ties thinking on immigration to thinking on contraception and abortion. Connelly also notes that population controllers often ignored a proven means of reducing fertility: education for women. They did this because, he suggests, they were often simultaneously afraid of lower fertility in “high-quality” women, though it was hard to say this publicly as eugenics became increasingly in bad odor. I wish there’d been some unpacking of this racially inflected neglect, because as a matter of logic it’s just dumb: if you want uneducated people to stop having so many kids, educating them by definition ought to take them out of the troublesome group; you have to have an underlying idea that education won’t “fix” some more fundamental problem if you want to make them just stop reproducing. ( )
  rivkat | Jan 10, 2012 |
This is an exhaustingly researched account of over a century of population policy. You probably think I mean to say exhaustively, but no, I mean exhaustingly. As a work of scholarship, it contains much of interest. But it is not exactly an easy read. And there are some surprising omissions. Connelly does not explore the roots of the Catholic opposition to contraception, he ignores groups who believe contraception is an invitation to immorality and -- incredibly in a 380 page book about human r...more This is an exhaustingly researched account of over a century of population policy. You probably think I mean to say exhaustively, but no, I mean exhaustingly. As a work of scholarship, it contains much of interest. But it is not exactly an easy read. And there are some surprising omissions. Connelly does not explore the roots of the Catholic opposition to contraception, he ignores groups who believe contraception is an invitation to immorality and -- incredibly in a 380 page book about human reproduction, he doesn't mention sex. ( )
  ElizabethPisani | Apr 18, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674024230, Hardcover)

Listen to a short interview with Matthew Connelly
Host: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane

Fatal Misconception is the disturbing story of our quest to remake humanity by policing national borders and breeding better people. As the population of the world doubled once, and then again, well-meaning people concluded that only population control could preserve the "quality of life." This movement eventually spanned the globe and carried out a series of astonishing experiments, from banning Asian immigration to paying poor people to be sterilized.

Supported by affluent countries, foundations, and non-governmental organizations, the population control movement experimented with ways to limit population growth. But it had to contend with the Catholic Church's ban on contraception and nationalist leaders who warned of "race suicide." The ensuing struggle caused untold suffering for those caught in the middle--particularly women and children. It culminated in the horrors of sterilization camps in India and the one-child policy in China.

Matthew Connelly offers the first global history of a movement that changed how people regard their children and ultimately the face of humankind. It was the most ambitious social engineering project of the twentieth century, one that continues to alarm the global community. Though promoted as a way to lift people out of poverty--perhaps even to save the earth--family planning became a means to plan other people‘s families.

With its transnational scope and exhaustive research into such archives as Planned Parenthood and the newly opened Vatican Secret Archives, Connelly's withering critique uncovers the cost inflicted by a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry and urges renewed commitment to the reproductive rights of all people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

"Fatal Misconception is the disturbing story of the quest to remake humanity by policing national borders and breeding better people. As the population of the world doubled once, and then again, well-meaning people concluded that only population control could preserve the "quality of life." This movement eventually spanned the globe and carried out a series of astonishing experiments, from banning Asian immigration to paying poor people to be sterilized." "Supported by affluent countries, foundations, and non-governmental organizations, the population control movement experimented with ways to limit population growth. But it had to contend with the Catholic Church's ban on contraception and with nationalist leaders who warned of "race suicide." The ensuing struggle caused untold suffering for those caught in the middle - particularly women and children. It culminated in the horrors of sterilization camps in India and the one-child policy in China." "Matthew Connelly offers the first global history of a movement that changed how people regard their children and ultimately the face of humankind. It was the most ambitious social engineering project of the twentieth century, one that continues to alarm the global community. Though promoted as a way to lift people out of poverty - perhaps even to save the earth - family planning became a means to plan other people's families." "With its transnational scope and exhaustive research into such archives as Planned Parenthood and the newly opened Vatican Secret Archives, Connelly's withering critique uncovers the costs inflicted by a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry and urges renewed commitment to the reproductive rights of all people."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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