The State Boys Rebellion by Michael D'Antonio

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist tells the amazing story of how a group of imprisoned boys won their freedom, found justice, and survived one of the darkest and least-known episodes of American history.
In the early twentieth century, United States health officials used IQ tests to single out "feebleminded" children and force them into institutions where they were denied education, sterilized, drugged, and abused. Under programs that ran into the 1970s, more than 250,000 children were separated from their families, although many of them were merely unwanted orphans, truants, or delinquents.
The State Boys Rebellion conveys the shocking truth about America's eugenic era through the experiences of a group of boys held at the Fernald State School in Massachusetts starting in the late 1940s. In the tradition of Erin Brockovich, it recounts the boys' dramatic struggle to demand their rights and secure their freedom. It also covers their horrifying discovery many years later that they had been fed radioactive oatmeal in Cold War experiments -- and the subsequent legal battle that ultimately won them a multimillion-dollar settlement.
Meticulously researched through school archives, previously sealed papers, and interviews with the surviving State Boys, this deft exposé is a powerful reminder of the terrifying consequences of unchecked power as well as an inspiring testament to the strength of the human spirit.

About Michael D'Antonio

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As part of a team of journalists from Newsday, MICHAEL D’ANTONIO won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting before writing many acclaimed books, including Atomic Harvest and The State Boys Rebellion. He has also written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. He lives in Miller Place, New York.
Published November 1, 2007 by Simon & Schuster. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Travel. Non-fiction

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But in the mid-20th century, D’Antonio notes, “Across the nation, 84 institutions housed a total of 150,000 children and 26 more state schools were under construction.” Boyce’s years of ordeal are documented along with the parallel struggles of several close buddies as they fought to overcome abu...

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Star Tribune

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'It wasn't my fault that the state took you kids.' " Conventional wisdom now has it that it was bad to de-institutionalize thousands of mentally ill patients over the last generation with a handshake and some prescriptions.

May 22 2004 | Read Full Review of The State Boys Rebellion

Bookmarks Magazine

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist D’Antonio, author of acclaimed books including Atomic Harvest, recounts this heartbreaking story through archival research and interviews with former State Boys and Fernald administrators.

Oct 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The State Boys Rebellion

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