Paul R. D. Lawrie examines how Progressive–era management experts, social scientists, and administrators in private and public agencies drew conclusions about race and the fitness of African Americans for certain kinds of work. These pioneers in the fields of actuarial science, statistics, eugenics, sociology, anthropometry, anthropology, and intelligence testing conducted hundreds of experiments and studies producing “a wealth of social scientific racial knowledge” (10), which they drew upon to conclude that black workers and soldiers were a diseased, dirty, unskilled, hypersexualized, and disabled people. Ultimately, Lawrie draws our attention to how the authority of their ideas about race informed decision makers across the bureaucracies of the modern industrial nation-state.

Much of the book introduces readers to the architects of these ideas and the institutions for which they worked. Frederick L. Hoffman, an actuary and statistician at Prudential Life Insurance Company, published...

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