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Publisher's Summary

'We can draw lines across the world any way we choose, and in the history of race science, people have. What matters isn’t where the lines are drawn, but what they mean.'

Modern science is pivotal in our understanding of race - not because of the lines that thinkers through the centuries have chosen to trace but because, once grouped, what they thought belonging to these groups signified. 

In Superior, award-winning science writer Angela Saini explores the concept of race, both past and present. At its heart, race is the belief that we are born different, in character and intellectually as well as in appearance. It’s the notion that as groups of people we have certain innate qualities that are not only visible but which may also have helped define the passage of progress, of the success and failure of the nations our ancestors came from. 

But modern science has moved on from these beliefs, finding reality to be much more complicated. Taking us from Darwin through the civil rights movement to 23andMe, Saini examines how deeply our present is influenced by our past and the role that politics has so often had to play in our understanding of race. Superior is a rigorous, much needed examination of the insidious history and damaging consequences of race science - and the unfortunate reasons behind its apparent recent resurgence across the globe.  

©2019 Angela Saini (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"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)

"This is an essential book on an urgent topic by one of our most authoritative science writers." (Sathnam Sanghera)

This is an urgent and important book. It contains a warning: you thought racism might be on its way out of science? You thought wrong." (Observer)

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Must read.

Must read for everyone. Take what you will out of it, but there is something in reading a book that’s views really haven’t been explained before.... or I’ve just never heard it like this.

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Great book excellently read by the author

Another excellent book from Angela Saini. Thoroughly explores the history of science's misuse in supporting systems of power over truth. Enjoyed her reading of it

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  • Bennett Gaverne
  • 30-05-2019

This is a great book

I think everyone should read this book. It is a modern masterpiece. Angela Saini has written something here that will stand the test of time.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Miss Rachel Brackenridge
  • 28-08-2020

Everyone should read this book.

Well written, and well narrated audiobook. Very important message exceptionally presented in an engaging way.

2 people found this helpful

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  • SteAndDenise
  • 05-08-2020

Totally Fascinating

A fascinating history, well written well read and well produced

I learned alot Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bruce
  • 27-06-2020

Whose interests are served by 'race realism'?

Beautifully read by the author, I found this an illuminating corrective to the discredited yet persistent idea that humanity is naturally (as opposed to historically, culturally and economically) subdivided into distinct racial groups. Spoiler alert: it isn't. The differences between members of the same supposed ethnic groupings are far greater than the differences between them, and our common-sense divisions between peoples break down under scientific scrutiny. The book exposes the error of assuming that these divisions are real, then looking for data to confirm them, and is insightful on the researchers, both well-intentioned and malicious, who have promoted ideas of 'race realism' and 'human biodiversity'. The pursuit of race science, whether to 'explain' or to 'justify' inequality, is a dishonest and harmful endeavour which is supported and carried out by the powerful in order to cement their advantages.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gwendolyn
  • 28-03-2021

A must read.

Like her previous book INFERIOR this can not go unread.

Incredibly well researched and well written, presenting important data, social ideas, and political motivations behind the invention and continued use of ‘race’.

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  • Efab
  • 25-03-2021

A must read

A fantastic and we'll researched book that discusses the ridiculous concept of race and the efforts that people to speculate and manipulate scientific for their own personal and political ideologies. Truly enlightening read.

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  • Miller
  • 10-09-2020

A Mind Blowing Must Read

After a long search to find a book that deconstructs ‘Race’ I feel I’ve hit the jackpot with this one. A brilliant discourse on the history and science around the views we hold and how this has shaped our past and present.

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  • Caterina G.
  • 15-07-2020

a must read

a must read to understand the difference between social and biological conception of race and why the former is so dangerous

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  • Nia7x
  • 10-07-2020

Wow!

Angela Saini handled a traumatising subject with great sensitivity and flair. I learned so much from this book.

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  • Zara612
  • 24-06-2020

Leaves you questioning everything

Saini wrote a very informative book, with the first part a more familiar history of race science. The second part deals with more modern nuances in science, questioning non racist scientists about their motivations and assumptions that are underpinned in society’s determination to see biological difference. At times it can be difficult to identify that line between science and race science, and where race is/isn’t appropriate as a category even as Saini identifies it, but you are left in no doubt it is ingrained.

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