A Historian's View of the Nature: Nurture Controversy

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(8), 622–623. Reviews the book, The Triumph of Evolution: American Scientists and the Heredity-Environment Controversy, 1900–1941 by Hamilton Cravens (see record 1988-98612-000). Written by a historian, this book focuses on one episode in the history of scientific ideas–namely, the virulent heredity-environment controversy that flourished in America between the two World Wars. Cravens recognizes the recent, limited revival of the nature-nurture controversy in American science and politics, and the types of questions that are now being asked about heredity and environment. The book is written in a highly readable and semipopular style, although fully annotated with 59 pages of bibliographic citations and scholarly notesgrouped at the end. In summary, this is a fascinating, wellwritten, and carefully documented book. It should be read by many psychologists, both because of the current upsurge of interest in the history of psychology and because of the recent revival of the nature-nurture controversy with its many practical ramifications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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