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For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation
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For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents' informed consent.
Result: The world's first vaccine.
Experiment: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than thirty operations without anesthesia.
Result: The beginnings of modern gynecology.
Experiment: From 1946 to 1953, seventy-four boys are fed oatmeal laced with radioac
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Twenty-First Century Books (CT)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 14, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Wittenstein was taking on quite a task when she wrote this book, and she's succeeded on almost every level. It's informative, and manages to describe the full impact of the medical experiments without getting too graphic for younger readers. Some of the more gruesome details were left out, especially in the chapter on Nazi experiments, but it wasn't by any means sanitized. She also did a great job of explaining all sides of the arguments around human medical experimentation, without at any point ...more
May 13, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books
Excellently creepy for teens and pretty unsettling (even in modern times)!
This book presents a brief history of human medical experimentation concluding with the current state of human drug trials and ethical questions. It was a fast 100 page read packed with horrifying instances of uninformed people being tested on from Alexis St. Martin with his open stomach in 1822 (Read more him in Gulp by Mary Roach), to the Holocaust, to Americans in the 1950s secretly injected with radiation to test the
Aug 09, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, non-fiction
Once again, the backs of the poor and those least able to defend themselves bear the brunt of unfair treatment. There are so many examples of abuse at the hands of doctors and drug companies in this book that I wanted to throw it across the room several times (which would have been bad since I was reading it on my laptop). Don't read this book if you don't want to hear about injustice in society. Don't read this book if you want to continue to believe that the drug companies are good and ...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Feb 19, 2014 Annie Oosterwyk rated it really liked it
Shelves: medical-ethics
Excellent middle grade and up nonfiction. Topics in this book include: the nature of testing on humans for the greater good(yellow fever, tb) and company profit(testing overseas), informed consent- (orphanages, prisons, soldiers), war- (nuclear testing, chemical warfare, Nazi experimentation), among others. Brief true stories humanize situations.
Excellent resource lists: books, websites, online interviews and films in addition to source notes and bibliography.
Some pretty ghastly stuff in here, and language that becomes increasingly technical as the book describes oversight in the 20th and 21st centuries. Excellent for older readers with a taste for dramatic nonfiction, but I think too much for middle grade.
Nov 07, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it
This book is great for readers who want a quick and informative read with interesting topic that is the primary base of the book.
It is an informative and entertaining read for teens and adults that are interested on the dark and hidden past of the medical progress at the expense of the underprivileged and the defenseless. People such as Night Doctors were to blame for the underprivileged persons being taken and experimented “in the name of science”. This book takes you around the world at diff
Fenix Rose
Feb 10, 2014 Fenix Rose rated it really liked it
A look into some of the way human have been experimented on with and without permission.
It poses a good question.
Some medical advances have been as a result of human experimentation.
And yet did it justify the pain, horror, and death that many of these people experienced, especially those who did not even know they were being experimented on?
Then there is the modern question of money..private companies conducting experiments with the aim of possible billions of dollars in future profits selling s
Sarah Jane
Jan 02, 2016 Sarah Jane rated it it was amazing
When the synopsis says "horrifying medical atrocities", it's not kidding. My husband has always been really into the conspiracy theories and he got me pretty interested in them along the way. Some of them aren't true, some of them are, and then there are these. This book is full of a ton of horrifying medical events that happened mostly from the 1900s until the present day.

It is incredibly interesting and informative. It stirred up a lot of anger and utter shock. There are so many incidences tha
Jan 13, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
Fascinating read! For lovers of history and cover-ups, this is a book written in easy-to-understand terms but keeps the reader engaged. Some of the experiments described are graphic, so a word of caution.

The author talks about some cases of human experimentation that most are familiar with - like the Nazis during WWII, but she also brings up cases even I haven't heard of (and some performed here in the US!). For example, a program called Green Run is described. From 1944 into the 1960's, the Ato
Aug 06, 2013 Maggie rated it it was amazing
You may have heard of Henrietta Lacks because of Rebecca Skloot's book, but have you heard of Simeon Shaw,Ebb Cade, or Jolee Mohr? These are just a few of the many, many subjects of medical tests that were performed on humans without their consent, or in Mohr's case, with consent but without a full understanding of the medical risks.

This was a very difficult book for me to read, not because of vocabulary, sentence structure, or writing style, but because of the subject. It is not easy to read a
Ms. Yingling
Oct 25, 2013 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Starting with an explanation of the Hypocratic Oath and the early experimentation of Edward Jenner with smallpox vaccination, this book followers the history of horrific medical trials up to the present day. It includes chapters on Nazi experimentation as well as the other experiments done while nations were at war, and gives unglaring details about the effects of these experiments on the subjects, who were usually very young, poor, or mentally disabled. Luckily, the book does cover the outcry ...more
May 15, 2013 Kendra rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
3.5/5 (rounded up to 4)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I picked this up because I wanted a quick and interesting read, and because I took a seminar class on eugenics and wanted to learn more. For the Good of Mankind poses some very meaningful questions about the nature of human medical experimentation, as well as the morality of using the discoveries of made after such experiments. I learned a lot about the history of medicine in this book, as well as discovering
Aug 27, 2014 Raelynn rated it really liked it
"Primum non nocere" (first, do no harm) - Hippocratic Oath
For the good of mankind is a wonderful introduction into an all unfortunate grim reality. Human experimentation in the medical world can be a bit much for anyone let alone young teens, but Wittenstein has done a great job of bringing the facts forward without ALL (there definitely are some) of the "messy" details. My only qualm with the book was the layout at times, but I've seen much worse. I also would have liked to see a little more p
Sep 30, 2013 Dolores rated it really liked it
So...nonfiction is not exactly my first choice of reading material, but I try to make an effort to read some titles in the genre. This topic sounded interesting, so I gave it a go. I really struggled with this one at times, but I persevered, because the book is well worth it. There is a long and shameful history of horrific experimentation on the poor and powerless, and this book does a great job of shining a powerful light on it. The issue for me was that the book has a tendency to list ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it
How can you resist a title about human medical experimentation? This short little book was full of all kinds of information on medical experiments done on people with and without their knowledge. The majority of the experiments took place during the last century but there were a few from the 19th century mentioned. The book covers everything from Nazi concentration camps to radiation experiments during and after WWII to the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments. I think the most disturbing information ...more
Nick Turner
Sep 20, 2013 Nick Turner rated it really liked it
Shelves: imperialism, deep
Shocking journalistic account of medical malpractice by doctors and scientists primarily in the USA in the past and in recent history.

The work is marketed to grades 6-12 (ages 11-18). Long texts are suitable for teenagers and advanced younger readers.

The issue of new medicine development seemed to imply drug corporations are the only route to new medicines.
The journalistic approach avoids sensationalism although people who have an interest in particular cases of questionable ethical practices ma
I had a sudden urge to know everything about the history of medical experimentation and exploitation, so the fact that the library had this available to me in 80 pages was incredibly convenient.

Obviously it was limited because of its length, and the language is very stilted, which is sometimes useful to take emotion out of it, but it also makes it seem like far less of a big deal, and even though it asks ethical questions at the end (it's a YA clearly intended primarily for school use), it isn't
Emma Bauer
Sep 08, 2015 Emma Bauer rated it it was amazing
"For the Good of Mankind? The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation" by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein is a great book. It is full of interesting stories. Some of the stories made me realize how crazy some people can be.

This book is mainly about human experimentation. There are many stories about how medical scientists try to find cures for diseases and experimented with chemical warfare. There are also stories of children and orphans who were used for human experimentation.

I would reco
Nov 26, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
This is a great book. The extra dose of creepy is always done "in the name of science." I liked the fact it blends both high level cases and other almost unheard documents of illegal experimentation. I further like the fact that it gives an update of how the medical field is exploiting around the world----and laws are still being avoided by the medical community. The explanation of medical community terms is also another nice factor in this book. Sadly, this book just reinforces the fears I have ...more
Kylan Mitchell
Feb 18, 2016 Kylan Mitchell rated it really liked it
For the Good of Mankind? is a book about human experimentation and the things that came of it. For example, in 1910 three doctors experimented on 160 orphans under the age of eight and inserted tuberculin into their eyes and at night they would lay awake crying and moaning of the pain that they were suffering from. Also, not to forget the notorious Nazi Dr. Mengele who loved to experiment on twins. He would take them and experiment with the origins of certain diseases. He would put a germ in one ...more
Glenn Banks
Jun 12, 2014 Glenn Banks rated it it was amazing
it is kind of sad that we have done experiments, most of the stories are united states originated. I know other places did experiments and it would have been nice to have heard about some of them. I'm sure the USSR much have done experiments on humans.

the I have heard of some of the experiments and it is always a good idea to review the atrocities to hopefully learn and prevent them in the future.
This book was a great information research for the academic paper I Write on the history of human experimentation. However, this book read almost like a bulleted list. It provided very little context or background information to the topic of human experimentation. I also found this book was written with no feeling or personal opinion. Though that may be a positive for some readers, it made me lose interest quickly in the book.
Aug 05, 2013 Terryann rated it really liked it
an in depth look at several different kinds of experiments that were either run by the government or sanctioned by the government. the effects on human lives and on the environment were catastrophic and the government and doctors and others justified this by the number of lives they may have saved later one. an appalling read and very good.
Margo Tanenbaum
Nov 25, 2013 Margo Tanenbaum rated it it was amazing
For the Good of Mankind? tells the difficult but important history of human medical experimentation in a format suitable for middle school or high school students. With the onset of the Common Core, Wittenstein's book is exactly the type of well-researched, provocative, and stimulating narrative non-fiction that teachers and libraries will be needing to put into students' hands.
Dec 15, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked it
Here is an excerpt from my review: "For the Good of Mankind by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein is a very interesting book that would be perfect for your curious teen. The book presents in an age-appropriate format 'the shameful history of human medical experimentation.'"

You can read my full review here:
Angela Boccuzzi-Reichert
Jan 01, 2014 Angela Boccuzzi-Reichert rated it really liked it
In the not to distant past, doctors and scientists, used humans to conduct medical experimentation. This was done without the patients consent and when consent was given the dangers of the experiments weren't always shared with the patients.
Desiree Smelcer
Aug 13, 2013 Desiree Smelcer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is made for Young adults, and was still one of the more fascinating books I have read this year. This book is worth a read for any age over 12. Some of the topics discussed were not for a young audience, but worth knowing about.
Jul 20, 2014 Richelle rated it really liked it
Pretty interesting. I enjoyed reading about the different cases of human experimentation throughout history. Some was a little technical that I could see students skimming over, but there are a lot of important connections to other books and stories that can and should be made.
How to write about a book that reveals some of the the most horrifying aspects of human history? Vital, not for the very young (due to graphic enough to disturb descriptions of human medical experimentation) but not to be ignored either.
Aug 30, 2016 Anne rated it liked it
A broad overview of the history of human medical experimentation on other humans. It touched on many topics, but quite briefly - too briefly imho. For example, there was only 2 paragraphs about Henrietta Lacks!! Some good primary source photos though and an excellent reference section in the back.
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