At a time of increased interest and renewed shock over the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, Acres of Skin sheds light on yet another dark episode of American medical history. In this disturbing expose, Allen M. Hornblum tells the story of Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison.
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(229mm x 152mm x 30mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
Hornblum himself witnessed the reality of the large-scale testing of products on prisoners when he was running a creative writing course in a Philadelphia prison. Startled by the sight of men with their bodies covered in gauze pads and tape, he enquired further and learned that the men were participating in 'perfume tests' being run by the University of Pennsylvania, and that other local prisons were also running a wide variety of tests on prisoners. Hornblum discovered that many prisoners were being used as experimental guinea pigs, often for just a few dollars, and that this practice had become an accepted part of prison culture over nearly 20 years, having been initiated by Albert Kligman, an ambitious dermatologist in need of vast amounts of test material. Hornblum tells the story of Kligman and the many experiments he carried out as part of his own research, and for other bodies including the US Army. Many of the experiments were highly questionable and went far beyond his own speciality, and indeed his capabilities, involving as they did potentially lethal substances such as dioxin and radioactive isotopes. Prisoners were rarely informed of what was being tested, or what the effects were likely to be. Hornblum argues that they were not in a position to give consent and were in fact ruthlessly exploited. His book is based on extensive interviews with many of those involved and paints a bleak picture of ignorance, injury, greed and ambition. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Allen M. Hornblum
Allen M. Hornblum teaches Urban Studies at Temple University. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Prison System and as the Chief of Staff of Philadelphia's Sheriff's Office.