Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
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Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America

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by Ellen Chesler
     
 

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Ellen Chesler's 1992 biography of Margaret Sanger is acclaimed as definitive and is widely used and cited by scholars and activists alike in the fields of women's health and reproductive rights.

Chesler's substantive new Afterword considers how Sanger's life and work hold up in light of subsequent developments, such as U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging the

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Overview

Ellen Chesler's 1992 biography of Margaret Sanger is acclaimed as definitive and is widely used and cited by scholars and activists alike in the fields of women's health and reproductive rights.

Chesler's substantive new Afterword considers how Sanger's life and work hold up in light of subsequent developments, such as U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging the constitutional doctrine of privacy and international definitions of reproductive health as an essential human right.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Authoritative, readable and rippling with the energy of the life it conveys." — Daniel J. Kevles, The New York Times Book Review

"The Sanger portrayed by Chesler is compelling, and persuasively counters the tendency of earlier biographers to either eulogize or condemn...Chesler's exhaustive scholarship has yielded not only a fuller picture of Sanger but new knowledge about the history of birth control." — Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, Boston Sunday Globe

"Woman of Valor's chief virtue is a sweeping and authoritative grasp not only of Sanger's life but of the political detail and maneuvering behind it." — Ruth Brandon, The Washington Post Book World

"Chesler illuminates Sanger's rich personal and public life with a sophisticated understanding of psychology and history, yet the book reads like a good novel." — Sylvia A. Law, Professor of Law, New York University

"A major contribution to women's history." — Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former Columbia University Faculty Fellow Chesler succeeds admirably in bringing the extraordinary career and controversial personality of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) to life in this skillfully researched and objective biography. Sanger, a political radical, devoted herself to ensuring women's access to contraception after observing the plight of the poor as a public health nurse. An astute organizer, she fought against the opposition of a conservative political and religious male establishment, building a national and international birth control movement. Chesler explores the negative as well as the positive aspects of Sanger's character, noting that she was known to manipulate people and sometimes modified her views to achieve her ends. A strong believer in her own right to a fulfilled sex life, Sanger married twice and took many lovers, including Havelock Ellis and H. G. Wells. This is an outstanding biography of a feminist reformer whose achievements changed the lives of women forever. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal
The contemporary social debate over women's reproductive rights provides a timely backdrop for this major new biography of Margaret Sanger and her struggle for birth control. Sanger spent 50 years organizing a movement and advocating for birth control rights that are taken for granted in today's Western world. Chesler believes that Sanger's impact on women's lives has not been adequately appreciated or documented. This biography succeeds admirably in filling the gap with a new look at Sanger's private and public life. Interwoven in this account are discussions of the sweeping social and political developments of the 20th century. Chesler presents a Margaret who rejected the conventional restrictive female role and, while living a hidden and unconventional private life, worked publicly to push society into accepting new rights for women. This work is carefully documented and, while not as breezy a read as some biographies, is a major contribution to women's history. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Judy Solberg, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Kirkus Reviews
A splendid biography of the woman who fought for more than half a century to bring birth control to America. Planned Parenthood clinics are once again in the thick of political turmoil over a woman's right to choose abortion. It would probably all seem dishearteningly familiar to Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Higgins Sanger, who devoted her life to securing for women the legal right to prevent pregnancy by choosing contraception. In this lively volume, scholar Chesler (formerly of Barnard and CUNY) gives us a portrait of a complex personality who took on a strait-laced society in which the public mention of sex, even in marriage, was against the law. Sanger, born in 1879, battled not only to save the lives of the millions of women who died from illegal abortions and streams of uncontrolled pregnancies, but to give women the freedom to enjoy their own sexuality. She certainly enjoyed hers. No thin-lipped crusader, Sanger was attractive, witty, and bright, with two husbands and a parade of lovers that included Havelock Ellis and H.G. Wells. Her politics and rhetoric were honed in turn-of-the-century leftist movements—Emma Goldman, John Reed, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn were early allies—but she quickly narrowed her focus, urging that when women gained control of their bodies and hence their lives, social and economic change would follow. She made mistakes and she made enemies, the Roman Catholic Church not the least of them, but her tenacity saw the obscenity laws fall, the Pill introduced, and family planning become an international movement. A riveting warts-and-all portrait of a courageous and determined woman who, in a time of foment, wrought fundamental changes inthe human social condition. (Photos—not seen.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416540762
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
10/16/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
672
Sales rank:
925,251
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.56(d)

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