Review of Books

Holmes, Professor S. J. Human Genetics and its Social Import. London, I936. McGraw-Hill. Pp. viii+4I4.

Eugenic Review, October 1936; 28(3): 225.

THIS is a pleasant, chatty American book, produced apparently as a textbook for sophomores, as every chapter is concluded by suggestions for reading and a list of questions to be answered. It covers the whole field of human genetics in a sketchy, elementary but easily understandable way, giving also a few details about the historical development of this science. Population problems, migration, differential fertility, etc., are also discussed. The author adopts a broad-minded, fair attitude to the "environmentalists" and the "hereditarians," putting the arguments on both sides. Dogmatism tends to creep in in the chapters on problems of population growth, which are, like other subjects in the book, oversimplified. The author revivifies the theories of Malthus, and regards the pressure of population growth as a fertile cause of war and of reduction in the standard of living. The book is easy rather than especially informative reading, but is a sensible introduction to the subject for those who know little of it. As is to be expected from America, where they have "hereditarians" and "environmentalists," the book is faintly propagandist, but it puts the importance of genetic and biological factors for the betterment of the human race very fairly.