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: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Girls Who Went Away
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.

Published: New York : Penguin Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9781594200946
Branch Call Number: 362.8298 FES
Characteristics: 354 p. ;,25 cm.


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Aug 03, 2012
  • mpeacockjenkins 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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