Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in Americaby Ellen Chesler
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
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.
"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
- Simon & Schuster
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 958 KB
Meet the Author
ELLEN CHESLER is distinguished lecturer and director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Initiative on Women and Public Life at Roosevelt House, the new public policy center of Hunter College of the City University of New York. Woman of Valor was a finalist for PEN's 1993 Martha Albrand prize for the year's best first work of nonfiction.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
This was a great biography of an amazing woman whose life saw and shaped the evolution of the birth control movement. The book was well researched, and the addition of so many pictures brought the book to life.
The book is fairly long so it took me awhile to read but it was worth it. The whole life of Margaret Sanger was covered. Both her personal and public life was explained and shown. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the birth control movement or Margaret Sanger. The book offers a great deal of information about both.
Meticulously researched and footnoted, this somewhat ponderous tome (about 670 pages including the notes and index) does not make for a quick beach read. It's fascinating to learn how very many of the rights modern women take for granted come from the work of this brave and dedicated woman, who began the movement and started the clinics that eventually morphed into Planned Parenthood, both in the USA and internationally. People - even doctors - didn't even TALK about the phrase (ssssh) BIRTH CONTROL a hundred years ago. Sanger changed that, brought an awareness of the need to offer women reproductive choices other than abstinence, too many babies, or illegal and risky abortions. Sanger's reputation has been much besmirched in the last few decades by those who hate that women are making their own choices as to when - or whether to become mothers. As Chesler presents her, Sanger was far from perfect; she made enemies as well as friends and supporters. She was loath to give up the glory/credit for work that others joined in as well. (Sanger may have been one of the earliest pioneers of name branding.) Redheaded, witty and attractive, she did not believe in monogamy (at least for herself) and engaged in countless affairs, including one with writer H.G. Wells, somehow managing it that none of her men became jealous of her other lovers or husbands; they were all happy, or at least content, having a tiny bit of her time and attention. Whether you believe this disgustingly immoral or not, it's still an amazing feat for anyone to pull off. She was not a good mother, neglecting her children for the cause of B.C. But she was not a supporter of Nazism, race eugenics, or racism - those are all LIES propagated by those with an axe to grind. She wasn't even really in favor of abortion, though she grudgingly agreed that in some cases there was a medical necessity. This book will inform you of all you ever wanted to learn about Margaret Sanger (and more), and if you have a question or wonder how or why the author interpreted something, it's all deeply footnoted. The ending feels a bit rushed; perhaps because the author was conscious of it already being a very long book, or perhaps because Sanger made less news and had fewer letters and interviews in her declining years following several heart attacks. Worth the read, for anyone interested in women's history.