Spring 2018 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for spring 2018 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

The Triumph of Evolution
American Scientists and the Heredity-Environment Controversy, 1900-1941

Hamilton Cravens

376 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/2 | 15 illus.
Cloth 1978 | ISBN 9780812277449 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
Ebook 2017 | ISBN 9781512815351 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

"The Triumph of Evolution now stands as the most thorough exploration of evolutionary thought. . . . [The] book deserves a wide reading."—Science

"An important study of the emergence of the seminal social sciences—psychology, sociology, anthropology—and their development within the framework of the twentieth-century nature-nurture, heredity-environment controversy."—Journal of American History

"Superb research."—Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Hamilton Cravens challenges widespread belief to argue that the impact of evolutionary ideas on American culture and science has been greater since the collapse of Social Darwinism. he portrays a new generation of American scientists whose pioneering work led to the bitterly debated heredity-environment controversy in the 1920s and then, in the '30s, to a "synthetic" theory of the way heredity and environment together have shaped human nature and culture.

The resolution of this issue seemed to hold an exhilarating promise. If scientists could explain—and even predict—human behavior, they might help restore social control and stability in an age of domestic ferment and international turmoil.

The Triumph of Evolution is the first scholarly history of one of the most significant scientific controversies of the twentieth century.

Hamilton Cravens is Professor of History at Iowa State University at Ames.

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