American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption


Product Details

$28.00  $25.76
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Gabrielle Glaser is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist whose work on mental health, medicine, and culture has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and many other publications. She has appeared on many national radio and television programs, including NPR's Fresh Air, All Things Considered, WNYC's On the Media, and The Brian Lehrer Show, NBC's Nightly News, and ABC's World NewsTonight.


"A searing narrative that combines the detailed saga of one unwed teenage mother with deep research on all aspects of a scandalous adoption industry...Throughout, the author deftly follows this genuinely human story, exposing the darker corners of adoption in 20th-century America. In 2006, Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away lifted the curtain on the plight of other women just like Margaret, and Glaser accomplishes an equally impressive feat here. In a narrative filled with villains, a birth mother and her son exhibit grace. A specific story of identity that has universal appeal for the many readers who have faced similar circumstances."--Kirkus Reviews (*starred review*)

"Combining personal tragedy and overall history, this book evokes sympathy for a wide swath of mid-century American women."--Library Journal

"Through powerful empathy and tireless reporting, Gabrielle Glaser lays bare the coercive system under which three million young mothers surrendered their babies for adoption in the years leading up to Roe v Wade. Piecing together the heartbreaking parallel stories of one woman and the child she could never forget, Glaser skillfully unearths the attitudes toward sex, marriage, gender, and race that underlay this chilling chapter in a not-so-distant American past. American Baby will shatter once and for all the comforting myth that relinquishing an infant to a stranger in a 'closed adoption' was invariably 'better for everyone.'"--Janny Scott, author of The Beneficiary and A Singular Woman

"This moving story of one teenager's experience with coerced adoption in the 1960s is also an eye-opening expose of an entire industry built on lies, greed, racism, sexism, and stunning amounts of medical malpractice. Riveting--and sobering."--Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap and Marriage: A History

"This extremely intimate portrait of an adoptee and his birth mother comes closer than any other book I've read in describing the interplay of nature and nurture that shapes the human personality. The book is at the same time a triumph of investigative reporting about the abuse of birth mothers and adoptees: many of us are familiar with the stories of the Catholic girls whose babies were seized by nuns in in early 20th century Ireland, but who knew this was happening in New York in the 1960s and was done by Ivy League educated doctors and social workers. It is an eye-opener in so many different ways."--Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy

"Gabrielle Glaser shines a searing light on adoption during the post-WWII Baby Boom years, a time of celebration of family. She illuminates the cruel, secretive, and shaming aspects of adoption, a stark contrast to the prevailing view of adoption as a happy solution for birth mothers, babies, and adopting families. The story of Margaret and David, a mother and son pulled apart at David's birth, will break your heart."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era and America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation