Superior: The Return of Race Science

Superior: The Return of Race Science

Angela Saini

Financial Times Book of the Year
Telegraph Top 50 Books of the Year
Guardian Book of the Year
New Statesman Book of the Year

‘Roundly debunks racism’s core lie – that inequality is to do with genetics, rather than political power’ Reni Eddo-Lodge

For millennia, dominant societies have had the habit of believing their own people to be the best, deep down: the more powerful they become, the more power begins to be framed as natural, as well as cultural. When you see how power has shaped the idea of race, then you can start to understand its meaning.

In the twenty-first century, we like to believe that we have moved beyond scientific racism, that most people accept race as a social construct, not a biological one. But race science is experiencing a revival, fuelled by the misuse of science by certain political groups.

Even well-intentioned scientists, through their use of racial categories in genetics and medicine, betray their suspicion that race has some basis in biology.

In truth, it is no more real than it was hundreds of years ago, when our racial hierarchies were devised by those in power.

In Superior, award-winning author Angela Saini explores the concept of race, from its origins to the present day. Engaging with geneticists, anthropologists, historians and social scientists from across the globe, Superior is a rigorous, much needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science.

Reviews of Superior: The Return of Race Science

    • ‘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
    • ‘As in her previous book Inferior, about gender, Saini skilfully brings together interviews with historians, scientists and the objects of racial science themselves to paint a harrowing picture of the influence of race on science and vice versa’ Sunday Times
    • ‘A very good book: informative and chilling … The history she uncovers is eye-opening and heart-breaking; it’s right to be wary of that history repeating’ The Times
    • ‘The concept of “race” persists, even though it is biologically meaningless. This important book considers why … superb’ Guardian
    • ‘…a brilliant and devastating book’ Telegraph