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Genetic Studies of Genius

    Abstract

    IT is only when one studies a vast American work like this-which in its first two volumes covers more than 1500 pages, with still more volumes to come-that one realises that America is not Europe, that American science, for good or bad, is obtaining an individuality of its own, and that there is some hope that a population, which anthropologically is probably the most mixed the world has ever experienced, will shake down and ultimately develop national mental, if not national physical, characteristics. America has had many difficulties to contend with; it is not usually the ablest races who emigrate, still less is it the ablest members of those races. For early emigrants also, good physique rather than strong mentality is the essential factor of success. Occasionally, as in the case of Dutch and Huguenot immigrants to England, some political or religious movement drives a better class of men to change their homeland. But the bulk of men who have colonised America, especially of recent years, are men who were not succeeding very well in Europe, and hoped to find in spacious America more room for a return for their hard labour. The very spaciousness of America has been one of its disadvantages. It was possible to acquire with relatively little effort; there was no need to preserve or to maintain past acquirements, whether mental or physical; property and tradition were of smaller value than in older and more crowded countries. There was no natural selection of physique or ability, because inferiority bad merely to go farther westward, where ease of acquirement increased with every degree of longitude. The alternation from pauper to millionaire was as rapid as the reverse process, for to acquire was so simple that few learnt to conserve.

    Genetic Studies of Genius.

    Edited by Lewis M. Terman. Vol. 1: Mental and Physical Traits of a Thousand Gifted Children. By Lewis M. Terman and others. Second edition. Pp. xiii + 648. Vol. 2: The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses. By Catherine Morris Cox, assisted by Lela O. Gillan, Ruth Haines Livesay, and Lewis M. Terman. Pp. xxiii + 842. (Stanford University, Cal.: Stanford University Press; London, Calcutta and Sydney: George G. Harrap and Co., Ltd., 1926.) 21s. net each vol.

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