Superior

The Return of Race Science
Narrated by: Hannah Melbourn
Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Best-Of Lists: 10 Best Science Books of the Year (Smithsonian Magazine) · Best Science Books of the Year (NPR's Science Friday) · Best Science and Technology Books from 2019 (Library Journal)

An astute and timely examination of the re-emergence of scientific research into racial differences.

Superior tells the disturbing story of the persistent thread of belief in biological racial differences in the world of science.

After the horrors of the Nazi regime in World War II, the mainstream scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. But a worldwide network of intellectual racists and segregationists quietly founded journals and funded research, providing the kind of shoddy studies that were ultimately cited in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s 1994 title The Bell Curve, which purported to show differences in intelligence among races.

If the vast majority of scientists and scholars disavowed these ideas and considered race a social construct, it was an idea that still managed to somehow survive in the way scientists thought about human variation and genetics. Dissecting the statements and work of contemporary scientists studying human biodiversity, most of whom claim to be just following the data, Angela Saini shows us how, again and again, even mainstream scientists cling to the idea that race is biologically real. As our understanding of complex traits like intelligence, and the effects of environmental and cultural influences on human beings, from the molecular level on up, grows, the hope of finding simple genetic differences between "races" - to explain differing rates of disease, to explain poverty or test scores, or to justify cultural assumptions - stubbornly persists.

At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science - and a powerful reminder that, biologically, we are all far more alike than different. 

©2019 Angela Saini (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“An important and timely reminder that race is ‘a social construct’ with ‘no basis in biology.’” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

“Some writers have tackled the sordid history of race science previously, but none have gone so deep under the skin of the subject as Angela Saini in Superior. In her deceptively relaxed writing style, Saini patiently leads readers through the intellectual minefields of ‘scientific’ racism. She plainly exposes the conscious and unconscious biases that have led even some of our most illustrious scientists astray.” (Michael Balter, author of The Goddess and the Bull)

“In this essential book, Angela Saini deftly shows how science and racism have long been intertwined, why that pernicious history continues to this day, and why ‘race science’ is so deeply flawed. Deeply researched, masterfully written, and sorely needed, Superior is an exceptional work by one of the world’s best science writers.” (Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)

“Angela Saini’s Superior: The Return of Race Science is nothing short of a remarkable, brilliant, and erudite exploration of what we believe about the racialized differences among our human bodies. Saini takes readers on a walking tour through science, art, history, geography, nostalgia and personal revelation in order to unpack many of the most urgent debates about human origins, and about the origin myths of racial hierarchies. This beautifully written book will change the way you see the world.” (Jonathan Metzl, author of Dying of Whiteness)

What listeners say about Superior

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So important.

I’ve been a fan of Angela Saini since reading Inferior. This book is equally informative, shocking, and heartbreaking. It will sharpen your senses to some of the race-related rhetoric and dog-whistling that is rampant in the modern era, and gives consistent and unbiased facts and perspectives about why such things are poorly founded. I highly recommend for people who are looking for answers, or even to have their views challenged. This book is a wake up call.

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A good review of the issues

It was a good review of the issues and history of race in science. I was hoping for more science facts.

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Content is great, volume is way too low

I listen to my books while traveling in NYC. You can’t hear this recording on a nyc subway. I can listen to my music and other books just fine. I do like the content. Going to have to buy the physical copy. To enjoy.

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Great book. Terrible narration.

It sounded like a robot was narrating. No modulation whatsoever. Book was very well written however.

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The science is only as good as the scientists

A broad review of the history of science inherently being the product of cultural biases.

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Shines a light on the darkness of ignorance...

This book was good, and that's an understatement. I will listen to it again to further my grasp on race relations around the world. In this current climate of societal upheaval, this book casts out information we all can take in on account of our history and in our current lives.

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Excellent exploration of the history and effects

Excellent exploration of the history and effects of Race Sciences. Honestly I believe if your not educated on the history of Race Sciences than you are literally wasting your time discussing matters of social justice. This book is a excellent start.

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Excellent book!

A very well researched and argued book. Should be required reading in middle and high school, maybe an entire course.

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very informative

I wanted to listen to this ever since I heard about it and I'm glad I did. Well researched and very thorough, it goes through history and talks about the flaws in believing that race is biological. Absolutely brilliant

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Exceptional

This is a great cook the dressing is what is described as racism many of the different reasons for it how it develops and why it’s still maintain as a promise to seek superiority by some.