Book Review: Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts⠀

Book Overview

An incisive, groundbreaking book that examines how a biological concept of race is a myth that promotes inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

Though the Human Genome Project proved that human beings are not naturally divided by race, the emerging fields of personalized medicine, reproductive technologies, genetic genealogy, and DNA databanks are attempting to resuscitate race as a biological category written in our genes.

This groundbreaking book by legal scholar and social critic Dorothy Roberts examines how the myth of race as a biological concept—revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases—continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era. Named one of the ten best black nonfiction books 2011 by AFRO.com, Fatal Invention offers a timely and “provocative analysis” (Nature) of race, science, and politics that “is consistently lucid . . . alarming but not alarmist, controversial but evidential, impassioned but rational” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

“Everyone concerned about social justice in America should read this powerful book.” —Anthony D. Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union

“A terribly important book on how the ‘fatal invention’ has terrifying effects in the post-genomic, ‘post-racial’ era.” —Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of sociology, Duke University, and author of Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States

Fatal Invention is a triumph! Race has always been an ill-defined amalgam of medical and cultural bias, thinly overlaid with the trappings of contemporary scientific thought. And no one has peeled back the layers of assumption and deception as lucidly as Dorothy Roberts.” —Harriet A. Washington, author of and Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself

Book Review

Roberts, a professor of law and sociology, has written an exceedingly well-informed and wise book about race in the post-genome era. She tackles subjects from medical stereotyping and pharmacogenomics to the misguided appeal of ancestry testing. Roberts is equally aware of the immense power of race as a social phenomenon and its worthlessness as biology. Should be read by everyone, but especially by health care professionals and pre-professional students.⠀


Roberts walks you through a short history of race and slavery and paints the future of our society based on current mainstream ideology of biological “race”. She anticipates all of readers’ questions. You will see thinks differently after this book. No matter who you are and what you believe, you will benefit from reading this book.⠀


Dorothy Roberts leaves no stone unturned in her thesis. This book is concise and straight to the point. It visits the past that factually was, and the present that factually is. This book should not be ignored. It is an excellent and enlightening read. ⠀

About the Author

Dorothy Roberts is the fourteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights.

Dorothy Roberts is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. She is the author of Killing the Black Body and Shattered Bonds. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.

She is the author of the award-winning Killing the Black Body and Shattered Bonds and is the co-editor of six books on gender and constitutional law. She serves as chair of the board of directors of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Author Links

Amazon: Dorothy Roberts
Twitter: Dorothy Roberts
Website: Dorothy Roberts


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