Terrible Virtue: Book summary and reviews of Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman

Terrible Virtue

by Ellen Feldman

Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman X
Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2016
    272 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, the provocative and compelling story of one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the twentieth century: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood - an indomitable woman who, more than any other, and at great personal cost, shaped the sexual landscape we inhabit today.

The daughter of a hard-drinking, smooth-tongued free thinker and a mother worn down by thirteen children, Margaret Sanger vowed her life would be different. Trained as a nurse, she fought for social justice beside labor organizers, anarchists, socialists, and other progressives, eventually channeling her energy to one singular cause: legalizing contraception. It was a battle that would pit her against puritanical, patriarchal lawmakers, send her to prison again and again, force her to flee to England, and ultimately change the lives of women across the country and around the world.

This complex enigmatic revolutionary was at once vain and charismatic, generous and ruthless, sexually impulsive and coolly calculating - a competitive, self-centered woman who championed all women, a conflicted mother who suffered the worst tragedy a parent can experience. From opening the first illegal birth control clinic in America in 1916 through the founding of Planned Parenthood to the arrival of the Pill in the 1960s, Margaret Sanger sacrificed two husbands, three children, and scores of lovers in her fight for sexual equality and freedom.

With cameos by such legendary figures as Emma Goldman, John Reed, Big Bill Haywood, H. G. Wells, and the love of Margaret's life, Havelock Ellis, this richly imagined portrait of a larger-than-life woman is at once sympathetic to her suffering and unsparing of her faults. Deeply insightful, Terrible Virtue is Margaret Sanger's story as she herself might have told it.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Feldman's well-researched treatment of the often tragic realities of the life of a formative figure in American social history offers much to contemporary readers living through current culture wars." - Kirkus

"While the book focuses on many life events, such as her second marriage to a wealthy man and the role she played in securing funding for research on the Pill, everything whizzes by a bit too quickly." - Publishers Weekly

"Terrible Virtue is captivating, powerful, headlong and inventive - just like its subject. A beautifully wrought, compulsively readable novel. Ellen Feldman can do anything." - Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches: Salem, 1692

"An irresistible and utterly timely novel." - Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

"Passionate, driven, the Margaret Sanger of Feldman's imagination is every bit as complex as the world she was determined to enlighten." - Mary Beth Keane, author of Fever: A Novel of Typhoid Mary

This information about Terrible Virtue shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ellen Feldman Author Biography

Ellen Feldman, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Next to Love, Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, Lucy and The Unwitting

Ellen grew up in northern New Jersey and attended Bryn Mawr College, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. in modern history. After further graduate studies at Columbia University, she worked for a New York publishing house.

Ellen lives in New York City and East Hampton, New York, with her husband and their Cairn terrier named Lucy.

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Link to Ellen Feldman's Website

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