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The Girls Who Went Away

The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade
Fessler, Ann (Book - 2006)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Girls Who Went Away
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This book brings to light the lives of 1.5 million single American women in the years following World War II who, under enormous social and family pressure, were coerced to give up their newborn children. It tells not of wild and carefree sexual liberation, but rather of a devastating double standard that has had punishing long-term effects on these women and on the children they gave up. Single pregnant women were shunned by family and friends, evicted from schools, sent away to maternity homes to have their children alone, and often treated with cold contempt by doctors, nurses, and clergy. The majority of the women interviewed by Fessler, herself an adoptee, have never spoken of their experiences, and most have been haunted by grief and shame their entire adult lives.--From publisher description.
Authors: Fessler, Ann
Title: The girls who went away
the hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade
Published: New York : Penguin Press, 2006.
Characteristics: 354 p. ;,25 cm.
Contents: My own story as an adoptee
Breaking the silence
Good girls v. bad girls
Discovery and shame
The family's fears
Going away
Birth and surrender
The aftermath
Search and reunion
Talking and listening
Every mother but my own.
Summary: This book brings to light the lives of 1.5 million single American women in the years following World War II who, under enormous social and family pressure, were coerced to give up their newborn children. It tells not of wild and carefree sexual liberation, but rather of a devastating double standard that has had punishing long-term effects on these women and on the children they gave up. Single pregnant women were shunned by family and friends, evicted from schools, sent away to maternity homes to have their children alone, and often treated with cold contempt by doctors, nurses, and clergy. The majority of the women interviewed by Fessler, herself an adoptee, have never spoken of their experiences, and most have been haunted by grief and shame their entire adult lives.--From publisher description.
Local Note: 1
ISBN: 1594200947
Branch Call Number: 362.8298 FES
Statement of Responsibility: Ann Fessler
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. [331]-342) and index.
Subject Headings: Birthmothers United States. Adoption United States Psychological aspects.
Topical Term: Birthmothers
Adoption
LCCN: 2005058179
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Aug 03, 2012
  • missmellie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book opened my eyes to the way that women in the fifties and sixties were treated. I am a young feminist, and I think it is very important for me to understand what my sisters have gone through. It is largely an ethnography of this group of women who were forced to give up their babies for adoption. The book is composed almost entirely of their stories. It is a sad read, but it was well worth my time.

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app08 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/16 16:30