Terrible Virtue

Terrible Virtue

3.48 (778 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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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Product details

  • Hardback | 260 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 25mm | 454g
  • English
  • 0062407554
  • 9780062407559
  • 2,264,485

Back cover copy

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 freethinker 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, 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.

Feldman's portrait of this larger-than-life woman is at once sympathetic to her suffering and loss, and unsparing of her faults and foibles. Deeply insightful, Terrible Virtue is Margaret Sanger's story as she herself might have told it.

Advance Praise for Terrible Virtue

"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

"Margaret Sanger blazes to life in this riveting, powerful novel. Read Terrible Virtue once to learn about the woman whose work ultimately shaped Western culture, then read it again for Ellen Feldman's masterful storytelling. Fascinating and unforgettable."--Lynn Cullen, author of Twain's End

"Margaret Sanger was passionate about birth control, freedom, a surprising number of men, and her daughter. Ellen Feldman lets us see all these sides of one of America's most complicated heroines, a woman who knew too well the hard choice between work and family. An irresistible and utterly timely novel."--Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

"How does a minimally educated, working-class woman redirect the moral compass of an entire generation? Feldman shows us how in her masterful novel, Terrible Virtue. 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 fascinating exploration of Margaret Sanger as a visionary tour de force who left a stream of public victories and private casualties in her wake. Birth control, sex, family, work, individual need, free

love, the greater good--it's all here, historically grounded but as relevant today as it was then."--Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point
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Review quote

"[A] highly topical novelization of the life of Margaret Sanger.... We need her story now more than ever."--Elle
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Rating details

778 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 13% (103)
4 37% (286)
3 37% (286)
2 11% (89)
1 2% (14)
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