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The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt Spiral-Bound | April 20, 2021

Audrey Clare Farley

★★★☆☆+ from 1,001 to 10,000 ratings

$30.98 - Free Shipping
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY THE NEW YORK POST AND BOOK RIOT
NAMED A BEST TRUE CRIME BOOK OF 2021 BY CRIMEREADS


For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, "a sensational story told with nuance and humanity" (Susannah Cahalan, #1 New York Times bestselling author) about the sordid court battle between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother. 

At the turn of the twentieth century, emboldened American women began to seek passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared "over-sexed" women could destroy civilization, either by crossing the color line or passing their evident defects on to their children. Set against this backdrop, The Unfit Heiress chronicles the fight for inheritance between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother Maryon, who had her daughter sterilized without her knowledge. A sensational court case ensued, and powerful eugenicists saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come.

This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be "unfit" for motherhood? How do racial anxieties continue to influence who does and does not reproduce? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive those who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Original Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1538753359
Item Weight: 1.1 lbs
Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
Customer Reviews: 3 out of 5 stars 1,001 to 10,000 ratings
"A disturbing yet thought-provoking tale of family strife and ethically unsound medical practice."—Kirkus Reviews
AUDREY CLARE FARLEY is a scholar of twentieth-century American literature and culture. She holds a PhD in English from University of Maryland, College Park. Her essay on Ann Cooper Hewitt, published in Narratively, was the publication’s second most-read story of the year. Her writing on other topics has appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and many other outlets. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania.