... comprehensive and damning ... Glaser tells a singular story to illuminate a universal truth ... That Margaret and [baby] David find each other is not a spoiler ... The hows of the search, and what happens next, read like a novel, one likely to bring tears ... One powerful message of American Baby, though, is that the shadows of the past cannot be easily dismissed as mistakes of an unenlightened moment ... The stories of Margaret and David and the millions of others who lived through the Baby Scoop are vivid evidence that policy and culture change the trajectory of individual lives.
... eye-opening, gut-wrenching ... Glaser skillfully guides the reader through the socio-economic forces arrayed against an unwed mother and her bastard child ... Interweaving the saga of Margaret’s fight to keep her baby with copious data and deeply researched history, Glaser’s essential and long overdue study should be required reading for anyone touched by, or considering, non-intrafamily adoption ... Glaser painstakingly documents, brick by brick, the wall that is erected between parents and relinquished children ... But the adoption narrative is changing ... And American Baby provides a much-needed resource for [adoptees'] continuing struggle.
She tells [the story] in lucid and often pleasurably novelistic detail, based on years of research and interviews. The inclusion of family photos...adds even more emotional punch. Many readers will find themselves moved to tears in the culminating scenes, perfectly orchestrated by all that has come before ... Based on the statistics that Glaser cites, many readers will have a personal connection to this story, but a connection isn't required to be moved and enriched by reading it.
... riveting ... The emotional heft of American Baby comes from Margaret’s wrenching story, which Glaser tells with compassion. The author also does an excellent job charting the social forces that collided to shape her experience ... [an] indelible narrative[.]
Combining personal tragedy and overall history, this book evokes sympathy for a wide swath of mid-century American women ... In addition to content related to adoption, which should be of wide interest, this book will engage readers interested in Jewish social practices in mid-century America.
It is a grim history of disease, immigration, labor, poverty, race, sexism, and suffering ... American Baby leaves out much. It does not explore the adopted who do not want to know their biological relatives or mothers not seeking the children they placed in adoption, or how some reunions prove disappointing or negative. No mention appears of the positive efforts made by many states to facilitate adoptees meeting their biological parents. This book ends with a plea from the author for revisions to existing laws to allow for better opportunities for adoptees to reunite with biological parents. American Baby provides a meaningful discussion on where we have been on and how we need to change the adoption system.
Glaser delivers more than just the story of 'a lifelong separation and a bittersweet reunion,' and the well-paced narrative is made stronger by Glaser’s ability to write with intensity about a harsh reality. This is a page-turning, illuminating work.
A searing narrative ... the author, whose own Jewish faith informs the narrative, offers a consistently engaging, skillfully presented, nearly year-by-year account, aided by open cooperation from Margaret ... the author deftly follows this genuinely human story, exposing the darker corners of adoption in 20th-century America ... A specific story of identity that has universal appeal for the many readers who have faced similar circumstances.