Annal: 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction

Results of the National Book Critics Circle Award in the year 1981.

Book:The Mismeasure of Man

The Mismeasure of Man

Stephen Jay Gould

When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.

And yet the idea of innate limits—of biology as destiny—dies hard, as witness the attention devoted to The Bell Curve, whose arguments are here so effectively anticipated and thoroughly undermined by Stephen Jay Gould. In this edition Dr. Gould traces the subsequent history of the controversy on innateness right through The Bell Curve. Further, he has added five essays, in a separate section at the end, on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general. These additions strengthen the claim of this book to be “a major contribution toward deflating pseudobiological ‘explanations’ of our present social woes.” (Leo J. Kamin, Princeton University)

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