Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans, infertility, by Elaine Tyler May

Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness

by Elaine Tyler May

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Format: Paperback, 336pp. 
ISBN: 0674061829
Publisher: Harvard University Press 
Pub. Date: March 1997 
Edition Desc: REPRINT

Description from

From Booklist 

Over 500 childless people responded to an author's query to share first-person accounts of child-free lives. The majority of responses came from women, 60 percent of whom were childless by choice. Combining their stories of nonreproduction with that of America's reproductive history, May's discussion of our country's reproductive trends is a cohesive picture of a place where children were, at first, an economic necessity. Later, Theodore Roosevelt favored eugenics when faced with "race suicide" in a country overrun by the "wrong" immigrants. The couple-centered childlessness of the 1920s eventually gave way to the patriotic baby boom of the postwar years. From the free love of the 1960s through the child-free 1970s, May brings us to the 1990s where childlessness is no longer considered pathological and her respondents freely admit nurturing their own "child within" in favor of the pain of bringing a new life into a ruined world. A fecund view of every aspect of childlessness, including sterility, infertility, and "designer genes" in a country that has moved from sex without children to children without sex. Patricia Hassler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


From the Publisher 

Chronicling astonishing shifts in public attitudes toward reproduction, from the association of barrenness with the sin in colonial times, to the creation of laws for compulsory sterilization in the early twentieth century, from the baby craze of the 1950s, to the rise in voluntary childlessness in the 1990s, to the increasing reliance on startling reproductive technologies today, Elaine Tyler May reveals the intersection between public life and the most private part of our lives--sexuality, procreation, and family.

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