A MOTHER'S ORDEAL by Steven W. Mosher


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 The compelling story of a young Chinese mother, giving a human face to the recent, chilling news accounts of how China has dramatically--and forcibly--decreased its birth rate. Mosher (China Misperceived, 1990, etc.) tells the story of Chi An in the first person, giving his dramatic narrative an even greater edge. Chi An recalls her childhood in the early 50's, when China was still encouraging large families. The second of four children, she grew up in a relative comfort that disappeared when her father drowned and the family had to rely on her mother's earnings. Things were grim as her mother battled depression and as the disastrous effects of Mao's agricultural policies began to be felt even in the cities. A student nurse during the Cultural Revolution, Chi An admits to participating in that horror, but the main focus here is her experience with China's ruthless system of birth control. Trained as an abortionist, she initially accepted governmental limits on pregnancies. She married an engineer, and when a local committee informed her that she was included in the quota of women entitled to become pregnant, she did so and gave birth to a son. But as Chi An continued working in a factory clinic, she was troubled by what she observed: abortion at full- term; infanticide; forced sterilization; imprisonment for those who rejected government regulations. Dismayed, she joined her husband, who was studying in the US, and she became pregnant again--even though, in China, she'd signed an agreement to have only one child. When Chinese authorities refused to let her return unless she had an abortion, Chi An sought American help. After many difficulties- -deportation procedures were in progress--she and her family were granted political asylum. A searing and candid look at a place where the state brutally intrudes into the most intimate parts of a woman's life. (First serial rights to Ladies' Home Journal)

Pub Date: July 29th, 1993
ISBN: 0-15-162662-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1993


NonfictionUNNATURAL SELECTION by Mara Hvistendahl
by Mara Hvistendahl