On sale March 1, 2016

New from Adam Cohen

In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile.”

But the most troubling actors of all were the eight Supreme Court justices who were in the majority – including William Howard Taft, the former president; Louis Brandeis, the legendary progressive; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., America’s most esteemed justice, who wrote the decision urging the nation to embark on a program of mass eugenic sterilization.


On sale from Penguin Press March 1, 2016!

Praise for Imbeciles

“Adam Cohen knows how to recognize a story and has the gift to tell it with disarming fidelity to facts that make us cringe. In that vein, Imbeciles made me question my longstanding admiration for the mind and character of Oliver Wendell Holmes and my fading hope that the Supreme Court can sometimes save us from ourselves.”

Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution

About the Author

Adam Cohen

ADAM COHEN, a former member of The New York Times editorial board and senior writer for Time magazine, is the author, most recently, of Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he was president of volume 100 of the Harvard Law Review.