For the Good of Mankind?

The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents’ informed consent. Result: The world’s first vaccine.

: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than thirty operations without anesthesia. Result: The beginnings of modern gynecology.

Incidents like these paved the way for crucial, lifesaving medical discoveries. But they also harmed and humiliated their test subjects. How do doctors balance the need to test new medicines and procedures with their ethical duty to protect the rights of humans? Take a journey through some of history’s greatest medical advances—and its most horrifying medical atrocities—to discover how human suffering has gone hand in hand with medical advancement.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Science, Young Adult
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 96
Publication Date 2013-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.6
Text Type Argument
BISACS YAN024030, YAN025000, YAN050010
Dewey 174.2'8
Dimensions 7 x 10
Lexile 1160
ATOS Reading Level 9.5
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 160222
Accelerated Reader® Points 5.0
Features Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Source notes, Table of contents, Timeline, Websites, and eSource



“With a sharpened focus on narrative nonfiction in the Common Core, Wittenstein’s book will certainly find its place in the library, aptly integrating itself in both history and science with connections to ethics and the future of research, especially when using the critical analysis questions at the back.” —VOYA


“Writing from a mindful, balanced perspective, Wittenstein keeps the essential ethical questions about rights of the individual, the advancement of science, and the evolution of informed consent in clear view.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“In a dramatic, engrossing narrative, Wittenstein describes many cringe-inducing examples of the ways doctors have exploited the marginalized, powerless and voiceless of society as human guinea pigs over the centuries….A harrowing, often gruesome, exploration of some of the darkest moments in medical history.” —Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“This chilling narrative exposes the history of human medical experimentation, much of which has occurred in the United States….This title is an important addition to public and school libraries.” —School Library Journal

Author: Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Vicki Wittenstein grew up in Maplewood, N.J., and has lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her husband and two children for many years. She received her BA in American Civilization and Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and her JD from Cornell Law School. After prosecuting criminal cases as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, she began writing articles for children's magazines, including Highlights For Children, Odyssey, and the Best of the Children's Market. She has also been an advocate for children and families. Recently, she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her first book, Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths (Boyds Mills Press 2010), received the 2011 Science Communications Award from the American Institute of Physics. For The Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation (Twenty-First Century Books) will be published in the fall of 2013.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

For the Good of Mankind?

Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents’ informed consent. Result: The world’s first vaccine. Experiment: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than… View available downloads →