Proctor, Robert N. The Nazi War on Cancer

ISBN 13: 9780691070513

The Nazi War on Cancer

3.97 avg rating
( 95 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780691070513: The Nazi War on Cancer
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Collaboration in the Holocaust. Murderous and torturous medical experiments. The "euthanasia" of hundreds of thousands of people with mental or physical disabilities. Widespread sterilization of "the unfit." Nazi doctors committed these and countless other atrocities as part of Hitler's warped quest to create a German master race. Robert Proctor recently made the explosive discovery, however, that Nazi Germany was also decades ahead of other countries in promoting health reforms that we today regard as progressive and socially responsible. Most startling, Nazi scientists were the first to definitively link lung cancer and cigarette smoking. Proctor explores the controversial and troubling questions that such findings raise: Were the Nazis more complex morally than we thought? Can good science come from an evil regime? What might this reveal about health activism in our own society? Proctor argues that we must view Hitler's Germany more subtly than we have in the past. But he also concludes that the Nazis' forward-looking health activism ultimately came from the same twisted root as their medical crimes: the ideal of a sanitary racial utopia reserved exclusively for pure and healthy Germans.


Author of an earlier groundbreaking work on Nazi medical horrors, Proctor began this book after discovering documents showing that the Nazis conducted the most aggressive antismoking campaign in modern history. Further research revealed that Hitler's government passed a wide range of public health measures, including restrictions on asbestos, radiation, pesticides, and food dyes. Nazi health officials introduced strict occupational health and safety standards, and promoted such foods as whole-grain bread and soybeans. These policies went hand in hand with health propaganda that, for example, idealized the Führer's body and his nonsmoking, vegetarian lifestyle. Proctor shows that cancer also became an important social metaphor, as the Nazis portrayed Jews and other "enemies of the Volk" as tumors that must be eliminated from the German body politic.


This is a disturbing and profoundly important book. It is only by appreciating the connections between the "normal" and the "monstrous" aspects of Nazi science and policy, Proctor reveals, that we can fully understand not just the horror of fascism, but also its deep and seductive appeal even to otherwise right-thinking Germans.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Familiar as we are with the horrific history of Nazi medicine and science, it may come as a surprise to learn that the Nazi war against cancer was the most aggressive in the world. Robert N. Proctor's thought-provoking book, The Nazi War on Cancer recounts this little-known story. The Nazis were very concerned about protecting the health of the "Volk." Cancer was seen as a growing threat--and perhaps even held a special place in Adolf Hitler's imagination (his mother, Klara, died from breast cancer in 1907). The Nazi doctors fought their war against cancer on many fronts, battling environmental and workplace hazards (restrictions on the use of asbestos) and recommending food standards (bans on carcinogenic pesticides and food dyes) and early detection ("men were advised to get their colons checked as often as they would check the engines of their cars..."). Armed with the world's most sophisticated tobacco-disease epidemiology--they were the first to link smoking to lung cancer definitively--Nazi doctors were especially passionate about the hazards of tobacco. Hitler himself was a devout nonsmoker, and credited his political success to kicking the habit. Proctor does an excellent job of charting these anticancer efforts--part of what he terms "the 'flip side' of fascism"--and, along the way, touches on some unsettling issues. Can an immoral regime promote and produce morally responsible science? Or, in Proctor's words, "Do we look at history differently when we learn that ... Nazi health officials worried about asbestos-induced lung cancer? I think we do. We learn that Nazism was a more subtle phenomenon than we commonly imagine, more seductive, more plausible."

Proctor is no apologist--one of his earlier books, Racial Hygiene is a scathing account of Nazi atrocities--but he clearly wants to engage in the complex moral discussions surrounding the fascist production of science and Holocaust studies. Proctor's thorough research, excellent examples, and dozens of illustrations are complemented by his authoritative prose. The Nazi War on Cancer is a fine addition to the literature on both the Holocaust and the history of medicine. --C.B. Delaney

From the Inside Flap:

"Robert Proctor is an outstanding historian of science and an outstanding historian of the Third Reich. By establishing Nazism's pioneering contributions in the areas of preventive medicine, environmentalism, and public health, he takes us right to the heart of the most difficult questions in the analysis of fascism. His treatment of smoking and cancer will be a revelation. This book troubles the politics and ethics of historical interpretation in the very best ways."--Geoff Eley, author of Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change after Bismarck

"Racily and wittily written, Proctor's interesting book is a brilliant demonstration of how marginal the Nazi past has become to contemporary health issues. A conclusion long since obvious to the former inhabitants of Bosnia or Rwanda, shot or hacked to death, in the very long shadow of the Holocaust."--Michael Burleigh, author of Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide

"A profound and provocative analysis of the very essence of medical research and health policy. While Robert Proctor focuses on cancer research in Nazi Germany, his book is a detailed examination of the basic value system underlying medical research and public health policy. This unsettling and fascinating account is a 'must read' for every medical scientist."--William E. Seidelman, M.D., University of Toronto

"This book is a major contribution to the history of science and medicine in the Nazi era. Nazism emerges as a kind of vast hygienic experiment that tried to create an exclusionist utopia, by using both 'good science' and laudable health drives, along with murderous practices aimed at the Jews and others deemed to be 'unworthy of life.' The book should be of interest to anyone concerned about the ethical, political, and social implications of modern science."--Robert Gellately, author of The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy

"Robert Proctor has once again produced a brilliant volume that will both fascinate and infuriate readers.... Just as he did in his previous book Racial Hygiene Proctor's analysis tears at the very fabric of our belief that good science is moral science. ...This book will force all of us to sit up and think about the consequences of our actions and our moral responsibilities to account for just what we are doing in the name of scientific neutrality and objectivity."--David Rosner, author of Deadly Dust: Silicosis and the Politics of Occupational Disease in Twentieth Century America

"Professor Proctor has written a compelling and wonderfully readable account of how Nazi physicians confronted cancer. Sophisticated research went with racial megalomania, as German researchers targeted diet, occupation, smoking, and radium as cancer-inducing. Understanding the Nazi politics of medical research and disease eradication is both haunting and instructive for modern efforts to overcome cancer."--Paul Weindling, author of Health, Race and German Politics between National Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945

"Proctor's book should fundamentally alter the way we view science under the swastika. Without minimizing either the crimes of the Nazi regime or the complexity of its internal politics, Proctor shows that National Socialist health initiatives ran the entire spectrum from barbaric to benign. This should be essential reading, not just for historians of science and medicine, but for anyone interested in the history of the Third Reich."--Diane Paul, author of Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present and The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature-Nurture Debate

"A fascinating account of medical and public-health ideas and policies in Nazi Germany. Its ironic emphasis on the--in retrospect--'rational' aspects of Hitler-era attitudes toward environmental contaminants, tobacco, and diet underlines the complex and contingent relationships among medicine, ideology, science, and policy."--Charles Rosenberg, author of Explaining Epidemics

"Lively prose and clear organization make this a wonderful book. The Nazi War on Cancer makes a major contribution to the field of Nazi history, with its attention to 'progressive' concerns within repressive and racialized settings. Rather than 'normalizing' evil, Proctor refines it in his sustained discussions of the ethical paradoxes he has encountered in his research."--Claudia Koonz, Duke University

"This book is interesting, informative, original, well-researched and well-written, and critical yet balanced in its judgments. It breaks new ground, and should attract considerable interest among and beyond historians of science, medicine, and National Socialism."--Mark Walker, Union College

"This book is interesting, informative, original, well-researched and well-written, and critical yet balanced in its judgments. It should attract considerable interest among and beyond historians of science, medicine, and National Socialism."--Mark Walker, author of German National Socialism and the Quest for Nuclear Power, 1939-1949 and Nazi Science

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Seller Image

1.

Proctor, Robert
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Soft cover Quantity available: 1
Seller:
J.M. Brown
(Sacramento, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Soft cover. Condition: New. New. Pristine, unmarked. // Shipped carefully packed in a sturdy box. Seller Inventory # 020033

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 29.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

2.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Softcover Quantity available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0691070512

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 35.06
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.77
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

3.

Robert Proctor
Published by Princeton University Press 2000-11-22, Princeton, N.J. |Oxford (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New paperback Quantity available: 10
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)

Book Description Princeton University Press 2000-11-22, Princeton, N.J. |Oxford, 2000. paperback. Condition: New. Language: ENG. Seller Inventory # 9780691070513

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 38.68
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.17
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

4.

Robert N. Proctor
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback Quantity available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(Richmond, TX, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0691070512

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 43.88
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

5.

Robert N. Proctor
Published by Princeton University Press, United States (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback Quantity available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Collaboration in the Holocaust. Murderous and torturous medical experiments. The "euthanasia" of hundreds of thousands of people with mental or physical disabilities. Widespread sterilization of "the unfit." Nazi doctors committed these and countless other atrocities as part of Hitler's warped quest to create a German master race. Robert Proctor recently made the explosive discovery, however, that Nazi Germany was also decades ahead of other countries in promoting health reforms that we today regard as progressive and socially responsible. Most startling, Nazi scientists were the first to definitively link lung cancer and cigarette smoking. Proctor explores the controversial and troubling questions that such findings raise: Were the Nazis more complex morally than we thought? Can good science come from an evil regime? What might this reveal about health activism in our own society? Proctor argues that we must view Hitler's Germany more subtly than we have in the past.But he also concludes that the Nazis' forward-looking health activism ultimately came from the same twisted root as their medical crimes: the ideal of a sanitary racial utopia reserved exclusively for pure and healthy Germans. Author of an earlier groundbreaking work on Nazi medical horrors, Proctor began this book after discovering documents showing that the Nazis conducted the most aggressive antismoking campaign in modern history. Further research revealed that Hitler's government passed a wide range of public health measures, including restrictions on asbestos, radiation, pesticides, and food dyes. Nazi health officials introduced strict occupational health and safety standards, and promoted such foods as whole-grain bread and soybeans. These policies went hand in hand with health propaganda that, for example, idealized the Fuhrer's body and his nonsmoking, vegetarian lifestyle. Proctor shows that cancer also became an important social metaphor, as the Nazis portrayed Jews and other "enemies of the Volk" as tumors that must be eliminated from the German body politic. This is a disturbing and profoundly important book.It is only by appreciating the connections between the "normal" and the "monstrous" aspects of Nazi science and policy, Proctor reveals, that we can fully understand not just the horror of fascism, but also its deep and seductive appeal even to otherwise right-thinking Germans. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691070513

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 49.92
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

6.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback Quantity available: 10
Seller:
booksXpress
(Freehold, NJ, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Paperback. Condition: new. Seller Inventory # 9780691070513

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 50.89
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

7.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press (2021)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback Quantity available: 2
Print on Demand
Seller:
Save With Sam
(North Miami, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2021. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # VIB0691070512

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 53.70
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

8.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Softcover Quantity available: 1
Seller:
eCampus
(Lexington, KY, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # N:9780691070513:ONHAND

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 52.64
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

9.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press 10/22/2000 (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback or Softback Quantity available: 10
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)

Book Description Princeton University Press 10/22/2000, 2000. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. The Nazi War on Cancer. Book. Seller Inventory # BBS-9780691070513

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 58.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Seller Image

10.

Proctor, Robert N.
Published by Princeton University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0691070512 ISBN 13: 9780691070513
New Paperback Quantity available: 3
Seller:
V-King
(Slough, United Kingdom)

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2000. Paperback. Condition: new. Seller Inventory # 9780691070513

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 56.82
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.13
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book