I admit it. I don’t read many adoption-related books. Living adaption is bad enough and takes too much time anyway. There are some books, though, that have greatly influenced my thinking and/or I’ve enjoyed over the last three decades that I I think are important for any bastard rights activist to access. I’m listing those below plus some activist books that shaped me and Bastard Nation.
You will notice a good amount of books covering the Progressive Era. As a Progressive Era historian by training I think it is very important to know that the current adoption mess in the US has its roots in Progressive reform which didn’t turn out so good after all.
Mea culpa! I wasn’t too careful when linking whether these titles go to hard copy books to Kindle. Kindle. Some are available in both forms, some not.
Post Script: After compiling this list it’s apparent that I’ve read more on adoption than I thought I did. It doesn’t seem like it.
Books for the Well-Read Bastard
Autobiography, Biography, Memoir
- Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller who Corrupted Adoption by Barbara Bisantz Raymond
- Birthmark by Lorraine Dusky
- Coming Apart Together: Fragments from An Adoption by Emily Hipchen
- Fumbling Toward Divinity: The Adoption Scriptures by Craig Hickman
- Ithaka: A Daughter’s Memoir of Being Found by Sarah Saffian
- Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption by E Wayne Carp (in press)
- My Dark Places by James Ellroy (not about adoption but relevant)
- One Small Sacrifice by Trace DeMeyer
- The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Adoption and Identity by Michael Allen Potter
- The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton: A True Story of Conjoined Twins by Dean Jensen
- The Other Mother by Carol Schaefer
- Adoption in America: Historical Perspectives, ed. E. Wayne Carp
- Adoption, Identity, and Kinship: the Debate Over Sealed Birth Records by Katarina Wagar
- Adoption Matters: Philosophical and Feminist Essays, ed Sally Haslanger and Charlotte Witt
- Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58 by E Wayne Carp
- And Sin No More: Social Policy and Unwed Mothers in Cleveland, 1855-1990 by Marian J. Morton
- Babies Without Borders: Adoption, Migration Across the Americas by Karen Dubinsky
- Beggars and Choosers: How Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States by Rickie Solinger
- Blood Ties and Fictive Ties: Adoption and Family Life in Early Modern France by Kristin Elizabeth Gager
- Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolsecent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 by Mary E. Odem
- Fallen Women, Problem Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work, 1890-1945 by Regina G Kunzel
- Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption by E Wayne Carp.
- Giving Up Baby: Safe Haven Laws, Mothherhood, and Reproductive Justice by Laury Oakes.
- GGrowing in the Dark: Adoption Secrecy and its Consequences by Janine M Baer
- Imagining Adoption: Essays on Literature and Culture, ed Marianne Novy
- In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America by Michael B. Katz
- International Adoption: Global Inequalities an the Circulation of Children by Diana Marre and Laura Briggs
- Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness by BJ Lifton
- Like Our Very Own; Adoption and the Changing Culture of Motherhood, 1851-1950 by Julie Berebitsky
- Living Room Lectures: The Fifties Family in Film and Television by Nina C Leibman
- Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience by BJ Lifton
- Mothers of Misery: Child Abandonment in Russia by David L Ransel
- National Council for Adoption Factbook III, ed William L Pierce and Conaught Marshner. (Bill Pierce’s last hurrah! And no, it wasn’t published by The Onion.
- Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama by Marianne Novy
- Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and US Imperialism in Puerto Rico by Laura Briggs
- Sacrifcied for Honor: Infant Abandonment and the Poliics of Reproductive Control by by David Kertzer
- Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare by Dorothy Roberts
- Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transrnational Adoption by Laura Briggs
- The Adopted Break Silence by Jean Paton (out of print)
- The Adoption Mystique by Joanne Wolf Small
- The Child Catchers: Rescue, Traffickig and the New Gospel fo Adoption by Kathryn Joyce
- The Dark Side of Adoption by Mirah Riben
- The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist by Amanda H L Wooston-Transue
- The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Adoption and Identity by Michael Allen Pottter
- The Language of Blood: A Memoir by Jane Jeong Trenka
- The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Childen in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance by John Boswell
- The Way We Never Were: America Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Koonz.
- Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v Wade by Rickie Solinger
- Teacups and Tiger Claws by Timothy Patrick
- The Bad Seed by William March (novel not play)
- The Collected Plays of Edward Albee, v 1,by Edward Albee
- The Collected Plays of Edward Albee, v 2 by Edward Albee
- When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
- You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon
- Queer in America by Michaelangelo Signorile
- Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
- The Activist’s Handbook by Randy Shaw
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu (best translations from Amazon)