Carleton Putnam was a proud Yankee descended from Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam. He attended Princeton and Columbia Law School but instead of practicing law, he built up a small California airline into an important carrier, Chicago and Southern, which became part of Delta Airlines in 1953. He served as the chairman of Delta, and remained on the board until his death in 1998.
Putnam wrote Race and Reason in 1961, at the height of the integration and “civil rights” controversies, and it remains to this day one of the most lucid, persuasive accounts of racial differences and what they mean for society. Much of the work of the Southern resistance of the 1960s is dated and mainly of historical interest; not this book. Putnam’s calm, authoritative arguments are as powerful as ever. Putnam never overstates his case or drives his conclusions beyond what the scientific data permit. His insights and parallels are as fresh today as they were 45 years ago.
It is no wonder that this book was a tremendous success. Although it is difficult to imagine such a thing today, Race and Reason was made part of the high school curriculum in Mississippi and Virginia. Governor Ross Barnett of Mississippi even declared October 26, 1961 “Race and Reason Day,” and invited Putnam to Jackson to give a major address. Putnam emphasized to his audience that it was futile to defend Southern traditions in the name of states’ rights, arguing that the race question had to be approached in straightforward, biological terms. It was science, not the Constitution, that would protect whites from racial chaos.
This New Century Books edition includes a preface by Jared Taylor.
Race and Reason was widely praised when it first appeared:
One of the most important books of this generation.
— American Bar Association Journal
Incisive, authoritative, effective … Mr. Putnam has put all serious and objective students of the race problem in his debt.
— Richmond Times-Dispatch
Race and Reason is a masterstroke … I believe it is the most important single document yet published on the question.
— Editor, Farmville Herald
Sane and thoughtful … Without doubt an important and significant contribution to this vexing subject.
— Manchester News
A blockbuster in print … Here is a book that ought to be read by every thinking American, North and South.
— Kingsport Times-News
A real contribution to the history of our times … a scholarly effort to put the issue of race inside the framework of American traditions and world history.
— Charleston News and Courier
I urge thoughtful citizens to read Putnam’s analysis and, in keeping with constitutional principles of freedom of speech and press, to provoke public debate between the unpopular ideas he presents and those currently popular.
— William Shockley, Nobel Laureate
No one did more to combat the racial folly of the 1960s than Carlton Putnam. Although he has been written out of the history books, history has nevertheless proven him right on all counts.
— Jared Taylor