Halliday Sutherland

"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.

The Ampleforth Journal’s review of “Exterminating Poverty”

I was very pleased to read a positive review of Exterminating Poverty in The Ampleforth Journal.

How population growth and poverty interrelate remains hotly contested. This absorbing study of a landmark 1923 libel case between contraception enthusiast Marie Stopes and Dr Halliday Sutherland vividly depicts a culture in turmoil – channelled through the ordered passion of a lawsuit.

… … …

In Exterminating Poverty, the defendant’s grandsons, Mark and Neil Sutherland, vividly revive clashing popular, legal and medical positions on birth control, skilfully highlighting widespread assumptions that contraception was an obvious social benefit. In Stopes’ words this would: ‘furnish security from conception to [the] racially diseased, already overburdened with children, or in any specific way unfitted for parenthood.’ Dissenters were readily cast as unenlightened reactionaries.

While the story propagated by Dr Stopes and her followers cast Dr Sutherland as the “unenlightened reactionary” in 1923, the fact is that anyone who believes that story today is the unenlightened one.

The issues that arose in 1923 are still current today. If ever the distinction between a social good and a social evil was clearly delineated (and I would argue not), the line has become increasingly indistinct with the rapid adaptation of new technologies. Accordingly, the book is for all those who are interested in the history of these matters, regardless of where they stand on those issues in the debate.

You can read the review by clicking here (it’s on page 59) and buy a copy of Exterminating Poverty here.

Mark Sutherland,
Curator, hallidaysutherland.com

One comment on “The Ampleforth Journal’s review of “Exterminating Poverty”

  1. ann farmer
    31 July 2023

    Excellent review of an excellent work, a lesson from history about how the strong exterminate the weak; first, they have to exterminate the truth – but this book shows that the truth can come back to haunt them..

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This entry was posted on 30 July 2023 by in "Exterminating Poverty" Book, Books, Marie Stopes, Stopes v Sutherland.


Stopes v Sutherland libel trial 1922-24

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