A fascinating examination of the way that many scientists and politicians have sought to use Charles Darwin's ideas to solve social problems, or to bolster political ideologiesCharles Darwin not only sparked a revolution in science, but gave birth to ideas that acquired a political dimension from the outset, one with a deeply troubling and ongoing impact. Social Darwinism, eugenics, and scientific racialism--whose adherents have all claimed Charles Darwin as their inspiration--became associated with some of the darkest episodes in our recent past. This beautifully crafted narrative follows the thread of theory and the historical footprints left by a myriad cast of key characters to tell an often shocking and sometimes heartbreaking story. This book shows us what drove people to put a black man on display in a zoo, forcibly sterilize a pair of innocent teenage sisters, lock up a British girl for 18 years for a petty theft, murder disabled people in Nazi Germany, and slam shut America's "Golden Door." In a world where the gene becomes ever more central, the fresh and stimulating arguments presented here make this an explosive, essential, and utterly intriguing book.