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December 28, 1984

A History of Mental Retardation

Author Affiliations

Alexandria, Va

JAMA. 1984;252(24):3422. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350240066052

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This is indeed a history. The facts are presented with that quality of assurance rooted in thorough research. The unfolding of these facts creates an impact as strong as it is unexpected, given the unobtrusive prose style of the author.

The reader is coerced into acknowledging a very specific form of man's inhumanity to man that has persisted for millennia in cultures throughout the world. Since ancient times, it has been a persistently demeaning form of inhumanity, such that the term "civilization" both in word and in intent requires rethinking and redefinition.

R. C. Scheerenberger's historical overview of eons of society's contempt for the person considered to be mentally retarded constitutes a factual historical perspective. Society is presented with a challenge as old as the history of man and one that remains unmet effectively even today.

Not in any aspect of the author's presentation is the historic and irresponsible exclusion