Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland

Through the centuries they have been known as “cretins,” “simpletons,” “morons,” “idiots,” “imbeciles” and “feebleminded,” among other classifications. These labels at various times have enjoyed the status of proper names, among them the Massachusetts School for Idiotic Children and Youth (a progressive organization founded in the mid-19th century) and the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (which followed in the early 20th century).

Dan Barry’s disturbing yet beautifully told story begins in the mid-1960s, when a few dozen men transported from Abilene, Texas, are called “mentally retarded.”

See the review in America magazine …

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