“Brookwood makes her book debut with a revealing and thoroughly researched history of the long and fierce controversy about whether intelligence is inherited or influenced by environment .… A substantive contribution to the history of psychology.”
“A triumph of empathetic scholarship, a story whose characters―from the children to the brave scientists who advocated for their care―make for truly compelling, and sometimes heartbreaking, reading. The importance of Marilyn Brookwood’s story extends well beyond its midwestern locale, exposing as it does the darker currents of pseudoscience and homophobia that would plague the twentieth century. A remarkable and beautifully written account.”
“Drawing masterfully on numerous archives, Brookwood recounts in lucid, page-turning prose the empirical open-mindedness of the Iowa psychologists, their personal and collaborative lives, and their caring follow-up of the children after they were adopted. She rightly emphasizes the larger significance of their findings and the victory they ultimately achieved against slashing attacks from eugenicists and leading mental testers. In all, a gripping, upending story.”
“This gripping untold story of the nurture-nature debate is for anyone interested in how parenting shapes the development of a child’s mind and brain. Masterfully weaving history, sociology, and neuropsychology, The Orphans of Davenport will tug at your heartstrings and forever change the way you think about what it means to be smart.”
“A fascinating and often moving book―and one of the best that I’ve read in a very long time.… It will appeal to anyone interested in the nature-nurture debate, the history of psychology, child-rearing, the eugenics movement, or simply fans of beautifully written books.”
Marilyn Brookwood is a psychologist who has worked in public education and held an adjunct faculty position at the College of New Rochelle in New York. In 2008 she earned her third postgraduate degree in Harvard University’s Mind, Brain, and Education Program.