Sacrificed for Honor: Italian Infant Abandonment and the Politics of Reproductive Control

Sacrificed for Honor: Italian Infant Abandonment and the Politics of Reproductive Control

by David I. Kertzer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Sacrificed for Honor reveals a shocking and little-known system for the surveillance and control of unmarried mothers and their children that operated in Catholic Europe for nearly three centuries, ending just a century ago.  See more details below

Overview

Sacrificed for Honor reveals a shocking and little-known system for the surveillance and control of unmarried mothers and their children that operated in Catholic Europe for nearly three centuries, ending just a century ago.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pregnant single women in 19th-century Italy, threatened with the loss of their own and their families' honor, gave their babies to foundling homes, where hundreds of thousands of children died from starvation and disease. In this shocking and engrossing study, Kertzer, a historian and anthropologist at Brown, blames the Catholic Church for its central role in nurturing a system that controlled women's sexuality, exempted men from parental responsibility and consigned infants to death. Midwives were recruited by church and state officials to inform on illicit pregnancies. Many foundling homes devised programs under which unwed mothers, in order to pay for their own infants' care, were forced to serve as wet nurses for other children. Kertzer draws loose parallels between the system of legalized infant abandonment, which spread throughout southern Europe, and contemporary debates on abortion and the role of church and state in defining the social good. (Aug.)
Booknews
Looking at the complex history of unwed mothers and their babies in Italy, Kertzer (anthropology & history, Brown U.) illuminates today's controversies in connection with reproductive rights, abortion, child care, and welfare--a wide range of issues that seriously need the light shed by clear, imaginative studies such as this one. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807056042
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
06/01/1993
Pages:
336

Meet the Author

David I. Kertzer is the author of, among other books, Prisoner of the Vatican, The Popes Against the Jews, and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. He is provost of Brown University and professor of anthropology and Italian studies.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >