• American Baby

    A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption

    The shocking truth about postwar adoption in America, told through the bittersweet story of one teenager, the son she was forced to relinquish, and their search to find each other

    During the Baby Boom in 1960s America, women were encouraged to stay home and raise large families, but sex and childbirth were taboo subjects. Premarital sex was common, but birth control was hard to get and abortion was illegal. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Margaret Erle fell in love and became pregnant. Her enraged family sent her to a maternity home, and after she gave birth, she wasn't even allowed her to hold her own son. Social workers threatened her with jail until she signed away her parental rights. Her son vanished, his whereabouts and new identity known only to an adoption agency that would never share the slightest detail about his fate.

    Claiming to be acting in the best interests of all, the adoption business was founded on secrecy and lies. American Baby lays out how a lucrative and exploitative industry removed children from their birth mothers and placed them with hopeful families, fabricating stories about infants' origins and destinations, then closing the door firmly between the parties forever. Adoption agencies and other organizations that purported to help pregnant women struck unethical deals with doctors and researchers for pseudoscientific "assessments," and shamed millions of young women into surrendering their children.

    Gabrielle Glaser dramatically demonstrates the power of the expectations and institutions that Margaret faced. Margaret went on to marry and raise a large family with David's father, but she never stopped longing for and worrying about her firstborn. She didn't know he spent the first years of his life living just a few blocks away from her; as he grew, he wondered about where he came from and why he was given up. Their tale--one they share with millions of Americans--is one of loss, love, and the search for identity.

    Adoption's closed records are being legally challenged in states nationwide. Open adoption is the rule today, but the identities of many who were adopted or who surrendered a child in the postwar decades are locked in sealed files. American Baby illuminates a dark time in our history and shows a path to reunion that can help heal the wounds inflicted by years of shame and secrecy.

    Through powerful empathy and tireless reporting, Gabrielle Glaser lays bare the coercive system under which three million young mothers surrendered their babies for adoption in the years leading up to Roe v Wade. Glaser skillfully unearths the attitudes toward sex, marriage, gender, and race that underlay this chilling chapter in a not-so-distant American past.

    Janny Scott, author of The Beneficiary and A Singular Woman

    Gabrielle Glaser shines a searing light on adoption during the post-WWII Baby Boom years, a time of celebration of family. She illuminates the cruel, secretive, and shaming aspects of adoption, a stark contrast to the prevailing view of adoption as a happy solution for birth mothers, babies, and adopting families.

    Elaine Tyler May - Author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era and America and the Pill

    Combining personal tragedy and overall history, this book evokes sympathy for a wide swath of mid-century American women.

    Library Journal

    A triumph of investigative reporting and an eye-opener in so many different ways.

    Barbara Demick - Author of Nothing to Envy

    This moving story of one teenager's experience with coerced adoption in the 1960s is also an eye-opening expose of an entire industry built on lies, greed, racism, sexism, and stunning amounts of medical malpractice. Riveting—and sobering.

    Stephanie Coontz - Author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap and Marriage: A History

    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.

    The Washington Independent Review of Books

    In American Baby, journalist Gabrielle Glaser sets Margaret and David’s poignant, painful, and powerful story in the context of adoption practices at the height of the Baby Boom, which left so many feeling lost and unloved. As she reviews what has – and has not – changed, Glaser also raises important questions about the ethical, legal, and civil rights and obligations of adopted children, adoptive parents, and birth mothers.

    Psychology Today

    [Author] and journalist Gabrielle Glaser uncovers the infuriating and tragic history of young women forced to give up their babies for adoption in post-WWII US

    Ms. Magazine

    Readers who enjoyed memoirs such as Dani Shapiro’s “Inheritance” and Nicole Chung’s “All You Can Ever Know” will find “American Baby” an excellent follow-up…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.

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune

    “A fascinating indictment of adoption’s early history that’s as gripping as a novel.”

    People Magazine “Book of the Week”
  • Her Best-Kept Secret

    Why Women Drink - And How They Can Regain Control

    Her Best-Kept Secret investigates the reasons behind the epidemic of female drinking in this country, our strange national history with alcohol, and the many ways in which women can get better if their consumption becomes risky. Her Best-Kept Secret reveals how women are questioning the efficacy - and safety - of the most common prescription for alcohol abuse, Alcoholics Anonymous. Most importantly, it provides clear, hopeful solutions based in the emerging science that is increasingly tailored to women’s bodies and psyches.

    This quick read is full of encouraging and informative advice, and it’s sure to ignite renewed discussion about one-size-fits-all treatment options

    Publishers Weekly, May 3 ,2013

    An important addition to feminist literature that calls upon women to reject a spurious equality...

    Kirkus Reviews, April 28, 2013
  • The Nose

    A Profile of Sex, Beauty, and Survival

    In The Nose, Glaser took readers on a whirlwind tour across the spectrum of human history, culture, and emotion. From hieroglyphics to modern journals, the nose has been both an enduring mystery and obsession, as fascinating to Pliny as it was to Picasso. Positioning the nose as the “anchor of our features” as well as the principle gateway to life, Gabrielle Glaser charts the shifting significances of the nose across different geographies, ethnicities, and time periods.

    Glaser draws a thousand scents into a highly readable narrative that’s a breath of fresh air.

    Christian Science Monitor

    A quirky, but well-told book that examines its place in history and cultures.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    Glaser explores all things about the nose and how it defines us.

    NPR, All Things Considered

    Natural history meets pop culture.

    USA Today
  • Strangers to the Tribe

    Portraits of Interfaith Marriage

    Any marriage is an adventure, but for partners with different religious backgrounds, the journey is sure to offer some unexpected twists. In Strangers to the Tribe, the journalist Gabrielle Glaser introduces us to eleven Jewish-Gentile couples, their families, and the many ways they have found to navigate their differences. These portraits, unsparing yet nonjudgmental, show how the answers are taking shape in interfaith America.

    A worthwhile addition to the literature on how to blend traditions.

    Library Journal

    It is clear that Glaser’s sympathies lie more with those who would add new members to the tribe—on whatever terms offered—than with those who would drum them out.

    New York Times Book Review

    An intriguing look into an increasingly common religious dilemma in America.

    Kirkus Review