There’s a review up on the blog “Critical Mass” (one of my favorite book review sites) about an oral history of women in the middle of the 20th century (before Roe v. Wade) who gave up their babies for adoption.

The book is by Ann Fesler and is titled The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade. According to the blog post this included upwards of 1.5 million women. The author was one of the babies who was given up for adoption, and they summarize it this way:

The oral history aspect of the book is masterful, and thus devastating.

How could it be otherwise. The birth mothers could not continue their schooling by decree of the community. They often could no longer live at home, being sent to residential maternity wards, separated from their parents and siblings and best friends just when they needed them most. Nurses, physicians and ministers frequently treated the pregnant women contemptuously. As for the birth fathers, they usually suffered no external consequences.

The blog post also provides links to reviews of the book in the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Newsweek, along with a link to an audio interview with the author from NPR (available here) and written interview with her from Salon.com (available here).

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