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Margaret Sanger

A Life of Passion

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Undoubtedly the most influential advocate for birth control even before the term existed, Margaret Sanger ignited a movement that has shaped our society to this day. Her views on reproductive rights have made her a frequent target of conservatives and so-called family values activists. Yet lately even progressives have shied away from her, citing socialist leanings and a purported belief in eugenics as a blight on her accomplishments. In this captivating new biography, the renowned feminist historian Jean H. Baker rescues Sanger from such critiques and restores her to the vaunted place in history she once held.

Trained as a nurse and midwife in the gritty tenements of New York's Lower East Side, Sanger grew increasingly aware of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy—both physical and psychological. A botched abortion resulting in the death of a poor young mother catalyzed Sanger, and she quickly became one of the loudest voices in favor of sex education and contraception. The movement she started spread across the country, eventually becoming a vast international organization with her as its spokeswoman.

Sanger's staunch advocacy for women's privacy and freedom extended to her personal life as well. After becoming a wife and mother at a relatively early age, she abandoned the trappings of home and family for a globe-trotting life as a women's rights activist. Notorious for the sheer number of her romantic entanglements, Sanger epitomized the type of "free love" that would become mainstream only at the very end of her life. That she lived long enough to see the creation of the birth control pill—which finally made planned pregnancy a reality—is only fitting.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 27, 2011 – Best known as an advocate for spearheading the birth control movement, Margaret Sanger (1879 1966) was an often-polarizing figure whose life Baker , a historian at Goucher College, expertly parses. Margaret Higgins was one of 11 children born to poor Irish immigrants in Corning, N.Y.; unable to fulfill her dream of going to medical school, she turned to nursing. Moving to New York City with her husband, Bill Sanger, and children, Sanger had her birth control epiphany in 1912 after watching a young mother of three. who'd begged for something to prevent another pregnancy, die after a botched home abortion. Sanger, who had multiple relationships throughout her life, including during her two marriages, threw herself into promoting a new sexual culture for women. Most shocking to many was the separation of sex and reproduction; she was arrested numerous times for violating antiobscenity laws. Sanger and her various birth control leagues the precursors to Planned Parenthood built clinics and strived to make contraception available and legal. Baker is open about Sanger's less savory traits, particularly her support of certain aspects of eugenics, and this unbiased account underscores the ferocity of the fighter and the necessity of the fight. 8 pages of b&w illus.

Customer Reviews

Margaret Sanger

A "must read" for every conservative, right wing politician so that they can become educated on the lives of women before birth control.

Margaret Sanger
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Nov 08, 2011
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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