The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America's Unburied Dead | Ann Fabian | University of Chicago Press | 220 pages | $27.50 (Hardcover)
The legacy of American craniology revolves around Morton, who is an odd character on his own. Sure, he had friends—science is social after all—but his trade was certainly a morbid one. But what Fabian captures excellently is the way Morton is connected so intimately with others—from scientists to ship captains to generals, Morton's story is truly a global one, reaching all the way to the Pacific and back. It expands into a complex narrative as it collects the histories of people and places and politics, making it easy to look past the more obvious objections to Morton's endowment of scientific racism and more deeply at the intellectual history that Fabian lays before the reader. The Skull Collectors is curious and absorbing—these bones have many tales to tell.
Review copy provided by the publisher.