Genie: A Scientific Tragedy (1993): Russ Rymer


When choosing A levels, I was advised to demonstrate some scientific aptitude alongside my arts-dominated curriculum. I chose Psychology which, despite some erratic teaching, opened my eyes to a whole world of incredible case studies. Three in particular have stayed with me: Philip Zimbardo’s Stamford Prison Experiment; Stanley Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority; and the story of Genie, a child discovered in November 1970, who spent her first thirteen years in enforced isolation from virtually all human contact. I had no idea, though, that her life had been discussed at any length outside academic textbooks and conferences. When I stumbled across this book the other day, I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with the details of this distressing case, which has haunted me ever since I first read about it in my schoolbooks.

Continue reading