The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

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9781594200946: The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade
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A critique of the consequences of policies enforced after World War II prior to Roe v. Wade, written by an adoptee, describes how countless single women were compelled to give up their children and how their situations were devastatingly compromised by the growing sexual revolution, limited birth control options, unrealistic social standards, and the unavailability of safe abortions. 60,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Ann Fessler is professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design and a specialist in video-installation art. She won a prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, for 2004, to complete her extensive research for this book. She is also the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the LEF Foundation, Boston; the Rhode Island Foundation; the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities; Art Matters, New York; and the Maryland State Arts Council. An adoptee herself, she begins and ends the book with the story of her own successful quest to find her birth mother.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Between 1945 and 1973, when unwed motherhood was considered shameful and abortion was generally illegal, 1.5 million babies were relinquished for adoption. Fessler, who was herself adopted, offers an incredible and deeply moving look at the personal cost suffered by the women who gave up their babies, voluntarily and involuntarily. More than 100 women spoke to Fessler about the shame of unwed pregnancy compounded with the guilt over giving away the child as well as the life of secrecy and lies thereafter. Many of the young women were temporarily banished from their communities, sent away to maternity schools to deliver their babies, and then returned to what was supposed to be "normal" life. But for many, the experience changed forever their relationships with their parents, the fathers of their babies, and subsequent husbands and children. Years later, many of the women struggled with the question of reuniting with their children as laws on adoption and social mores changed. Fessler recounts her own journey to find and reunite with her birth mother in this heartrending look at the untold story of American women compelled to surrender their children. Vanessa Bush
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9780143038979: The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

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ISBN 10:  0143038974 ISBN 13:  9780143038979
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2007
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