Disclaimer: Arc via Netgalley, courtesy of Open Road Media.
Damn you Open Road Media. You keep approving me for these books and then I feel guilty because it is impossible to write a long review for some them. Then I feel guilty. (Yeah, I know, but I swear guilt is my default setting. I’m trying to change, I am).
Okay, to say that this book is dry would be fair. At the most basic, it is a legal history of birth control and abortion from the later days of Sanger to the 1990s. Undoubtedly, a legal student or scholar would get more out of it than a general reader. But Garrow does a very good job at making what is dry in subject matter, very readable.
Yet, this is a book that you must read if you are woman – regardless of how you feel about abortion.
And you should read it if you are a man.
Hell, you should read it if you live in the United States.
I use to tell people that to talk about abortion they needed to read Roe vs. Wade in some form – an edited version of the dissent and decision at the very least. Now, I am going to say Roe vs. Wade and Garrow’s work. I understand more about the debate and history then I did before. Garrow does humanize some of the players (and not just the ones you would think); he also illustrates the history that gets lost in the argument. Everyone knows about the coat hangers and such because of buttons, but there are facts in here that are even more shocking and disturbing the development of the law. It’s true, most of the focus is on the East Coast but considering the history, this isn’t all that surprising. And it is a legal history, not a general one.
And I really don't know what else to say about this book. Isn't that enough?
Okay, one more thing:
I want to thank Open Road Media. Long ago, they became one of the “reliable” publishers for me. You know a publisher where if you haven’t heard of the author, you are still willing to try it simply because of the publishing house. A good portion of what Open Road does is make back listed books available for the ereader. I applaud the fact that much of these books are connected to important topics or important topics in history – for instance their Forbidden Library Series. I applaud the fact that Open Road Media publishes a great many books for women that deal with women’s issues. Honestly, I can’t thank them enough for it. I would not have read this book at this time (perhaps ever) without their reissue. Garrow’s book makes a good companion to another Open Road re-Issue – The Search for An Abortionist. (Open Road Media may not be a strictly Feminist Press, but it does seem to be feminist in a great many books).