WHEN ABORTION WAS A CRIME

WOMEN, MEDICINE, AND LAW IN THE UNITED STATES, 1867-1973

A solidly grounded, sophisticated history of illegal abortion in the US. Reagan, a historian specializing in medicine and women's studies (Univ. of Illinois), persuasively argues that, even during periods when legal and medical systems and religious beliefs have proscribed abortion, it has been an important, and often accepted, part of women's lives. She uses a range of materials, including government documents and the popular press, to prove her case but focuses her research primarily on legal and medical records. Reagan combines her analysis of nationwide trends in abortion practice with a study focusing on Chicago. By 1880, abortion was illegal throughout the US. Nonetheless, through 1940 it was a common medical practice that enjoyed widespread social acceptance. In the '40s the states, in cooperation with the medical establishment, began to enforce abortion laws more vigilantly. It was during this period that most of the pre-Roe ``back alley'' abortions took place. The movement to legalize abortion began in the mid-1950s, first on the initiative of a few doctors, later gaining momentum and ideological fervor with the rise of the Second Wave of feminism in the late 1960s. Reagan goes beyond the genesis of written laws, focusing on women's attitudes toward abortion and their concrete experiences of it. She points out that abortion has often been seen as a result of women's victimization (a callous man uses a woman for his own sexual pleasure and then abandons her). Reagan acknowledges that this happens but points out that, across class lines and time periods, many women have actively wanted to separate sex from procreation. She also skillfully connects abortion to larger events and tendencies in history; the Depression, for example, greatly increased the economic need for abortion. Of enduring interest to anyone concerned with the history of women's rights, sexual mores, and the relationship of law and policy to ordinary lives. (6 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-520-08848-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more