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Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War
     

Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War

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by James Risen, Judy L. Thomas
 

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ISBN-10: 046509273X

ISBN-13: 9780465092734

Pub. Date: 02/01/1999

Publisher: Basic Books


Abortion has been at the emotional center of America's culture wars for a generation. Ever since the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, abortion has in many ways defined American politics, creating an ideological demilitarized zone between liberals and conservatives. Above all, the twenty-five-year war over abortion has been responsible

Overview


Abortion has been at the emotional center of America's culture wars for a generation. Ever since the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, abortion has in many ways defined American politics, creating an ideological demilitarized zone between liberals and conservatives. Above all, the twenty-five-year war over abortion has been responsible for the most significant social phenomenon of our times—the political and cultural mobilization of Evangelical America. Furthermore, it has served as the lightning rod for the most intense and prolonged debate on the issue of separation of church and state since the founding of the nation.Now for the first time, in a compelling and very human narrative, Wrath of Angels traces the rise and fall of the American anti-abortion movement and reveals its critical role in the creation of the Religious Right. The book explores why the passionate battle to end abortion failed to achieve its goal and yet in the process became one of the most important—and least understood—social protest movements of the twentieth century. The anti-abortion movement was the catalyst that convinced Protestant fundamentalists to end their long cultural isolation, leaving their church pews for the streets. And, while they failed to change the law, they were transformed themselves, emerging as one for the most potent political forces in America at the end of the century.James Risen, an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and Judy L. Thomas, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, are widely acknowledged as the leading journalistic experts on the anti-abortion movement. Their narrative history captures all the drama of the abortion battles of the past twenty-five years and reveals how a movement with its roots in the Catholic left's antiwar protests of the 1960s was gradually transformed into a rallying point for the newly muscular Religious Right. Wrath of Angels documents the origins of the use of civil disobedience in the anti-abortion movement and offers the definitive explanation of why the movement ultimately descended into violence—and collapsed as a political force. It tells the compelling story of the shootings of abortion doctors in the 1990s and draws upon exclusive interviews with the anti-abortion extremists who have been convicted of these crimes.Anti-abortion activism represents the largest social protest movement since the 1960s. With clarity and objectivity, Risen and Thomas unleash the stormy wrath of angels, the volatile eruption of fundamentalist fury into American politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465092734
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
02/01/1999
Pages:
428
Sales rank:
892,271
Product dimensions:
6.16(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.17(d)

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Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Wrath of Angels, authors James Risen and Judy L. Thomas chronicle the fallout from the 1974 Supreme court decision handed down in Roe v. Wade that generated a nationwide anti-abortion movement, which, they correctly profess, is ¿America¿s most volatile, most divisive and most irreconcilable debate since slavery.¿ Wrath of Angels published in 1998, details why the battle to end abortion failed to achieve its goal but still managed to become one of the most important and least understood social protest movements in American history. The authors begin their point of inquiry by discussing the rise of the anti-abortion movement in the United States that began prior to Roe. The Roe decision, they argue, effectively caught off guard local anti-abortion in states where it was legal. For example, in Massachusetts abortion opponents, prepared to lobby for change at the state house, suddenly had to switch their focus to Washington. Overnight, Roe elevated the abortion debate in the United States as a national abortion rights policy was born. Despite the movement¿s newfound national prominence, it became increasingly fragmented, as the chances of overturning Roe through polite, mainstream political lobbying seemed to fade. Risen and Thomas, both reporters for the Los Angeles Times and the Kansas City Star respectively, provide a detailed journalistic account of the rise of the anti-abortion movement, its critical role in the creation of the religious right, and the movements subsequent dizzying descent into violence. The authors draw on more than 200 interviews with activists, families and experts on both sides of the growing battle. Through investigative journalism techniques, Wrath of Angels, in plain and punchy language, details the 25-year evolution of this social revolution. Risen and Thomas shed some comparative light on the strengths and the weaknesses of the abortion movement. For example, the road to ending abortion would eventually have two sides; one based on a non-violent approach, the other, violent. Roy O¿Keefe, Harvard graduate, and Vietnam veteran drifter, would eventually become the father of the rescue. Michael Bray, on the other hand, became the father of violence. The book details the lives of these two intensely religious bible-reading baby boomers that prayed to god and were drawn to the same cause and their respective entrée into the abortion wars. Eventually, the violent side would overshadow O¿Keefe¿s pacifist approach. A group of extremists, working to save women from abortion clinics and doctors legitimized their cause with the title ¿Operation Rescue.¿ But ¿Operation Rescue¿ leaders, like Terry Randall, would go too far in their mission to save lives. By 1993, the movement¿s level of violence markedly increased when one member, Michael Griffith, stood outside a Florida clinic and shot and killed David Gunn, a doctor that performed abortions regularly. The shots by Gunn¿s slayer were heard around the world and would forever change the shape and direction of the anti-abortion movement, prompting the first open debate among activists over whether the use of violence could be justified. Perhaps the works most significant contribution to the field of religion and politics is that it details the rise of the moral majority. The abortion issue provided the cohesion necessary for a new religion based social protest movement came alive in American society. Although the anti-abortion movement began in the anti-war protests of Catholic peace activists, it would eventually lead to the first conservative civil disobedience movement lead by Protestant fundamentalists in modern American history. This movement mobilized Protestant fundamentalists for political action for the first time in more than fifty years. But the work has its shortcomings. Most significantly, there is too much detail. The reader gets lost in the lives of the activists, rather than getting lost in an analysis of the cause. Alt