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Wrath Of Angels: The American Abortion War


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Publisher:Basic Books, 1999



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About the book:

Abortion has been at the emotional center of Americas culture wars for a generation. Ever since the Supreme Courts landmark Roe v. Wade decision, abortion has in many ways defined American politics, creating an ideological demilitarized zone between liberals and conservatives. Above all, the twenty-five-year war over abortion has been responsible for the most significant social phenomenon of our times—the political and cultural mobilization of Evangelical America. Furthermore, it has served as the lightning rod for the most intense and prolonged debate on the issue of separation of church and state since the founding of the nation.Now for the first time, in a compelling and very human narrative, Wrath of Angels traces the rise and fall of the American anti-abortion movement and reveals its critical role in the creation of the Religious Right. The book explores why the passionate battle to end abortion failed to achieve its goal and yet in the process became one of the most important—and least understood—social protest movements of the twentieth century. The anti-abortion movement was the catalyst that convinced Protestant fundamentalists to end their long cultural isolation, leaving their church pews for the streets. And, while they failed to change the law, they were transformed themselves, emerging as one for the most potent political forces in America at the end of the century.James Risen, an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and Judy L. Thomas, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, are widely acknowledged as the leading journalistic experts on the anti-abortion movement. Their narrative history captures all the drama of the abortion battles of the past twenty-five years and reveals how a movement with its roots in the Catholic lefts antiwar protests of the 1960s was gradually transformed into a rallying point for the newly muscular Religious Right. Wrath of Angels documents the origins of the use of civil disobedience in the anti-abortion movement and offers the definitive explanation of why the movement ultimately descended into violence—and collapsed as a political force. It tells the compelling story of the shootings of abortion doctors in the 1990s and draws upon exclusive interviews with the anti-abortion extremists who have been convicted of these crimes.Anti-abortion activism represents the largest social protest movement since the 1960s. With clarity and objectivity, Risen and Thomas unleash the stormy wrath of angels, the volatile eruption of fundamentalist fury into American politics.

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