American Genes, by Kirby Nielsen
Will Freedom Die In Pursuit Of A Genetically Pure America?
In 1930, thirteen-year-old Anna Olson’s social life ends when she has the first of two seizures, which in the eyes of some means she has “bad genes.” Unfortunately, Joan Bridenbaugh, a local social worker, is one of them. She is a eugenics fanatic who believes the United States should adopt the harsh strategies the Nazis use to eliminate defective people. Joan wants to sterilize Anna and put her in a state institution for epileptics. Anna’s parents fight tirelessly to stop her.
When Anna’s father perishes in a fierce snowstorm, and her mother succumbs to influenza, Joan makes her move. Standing in Joan’s way are family friends who believe Anna should live with them. The two sides clash in a dramatic custody battle that reveals the dark undercurrents of the eugenics movement. As she waits for the judges’ decision, Anna is on pins and needles, fearing the worst is yet to come.