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Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room Paperback – January 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A searingly honest debut memoir by a leader in the fight for a woman's right to “legally gain and exercise reproductive choice—the power of life and death.” —Kirkus

"From her decision to adopt a child to her love affairs, this is the story of one woman's quest to live fully. Opinionated, fierce, bold and brash, Intimate Wars chronicles Hoffman's efforts to improve women's lives and influence history. She deserves our gratitude." —Truthout

"Merle Hoffman's gorgeous memoir vibrates with raw power and nerve. Her tremendous empathy for the women whose lives she has touched, and her unfailing courage in defending our right to abortion, are both inspiring and humbling." —Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Manifesta

"At last, we have Merle Hoffman's bold and courageous memoir of living on the front lines of the abortion wars. Merle never turned away from the harshest battles or denied the most painful truths." —Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt

"Merle Hoffman has blazed a freedom trail while saving countless women's lives along the way" —Bill Baird, founder of the Pro-Choice League

"Intimate Wars is a fascinating personal narrative told from the epicenter of abortion politics and service delivery. Hoffman illustrates her unwavering commitment to the heart of the issue: the power of every woman to make her own childbearing decisions." —Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses and former president of Planned Parenthood

About the Author

Merle Hoffman is an award-winning journalist, activist, and women’s health care pioneer. In 1971, she founded Choices, one of the first ambulatory abortion centers, which has become one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive women’s medical facilities in the US. She is also the publisher of On the Issues, an online feminist magazine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558617515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558617513
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an abortion provider since 1976, I was truly blown away by Merle's book. She captured a time and era in history that has been forgotten. Young women of today generally have known legal abortion for all their lives. This personal and professional history encompasses the early struggles of providing abortion in America, as well as the continuing harassment that providers contend with on a daily basis. I went through many of the same experiences in providing abortion in the South, and Merle's recollection of events is riveting. I was also there for the march on St. Patrick's in NYC that is documented in the book. This book represents a giant leap in not only the documentation of abortion history, but also personal revelations of those of us who have provided the service. I recommend this highly for any progressive American who wants to better understand a great national movement. Ann Rose (Abortion Clinics OnLine)
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This brave, raw and fascinating memoir is, at its core, about the journey towards self-actualization and the freedom necessary to master one's life. Fortunately for countless women, the book's heroine, Merle Hoffman, used her brilliance and immense talents to provide them with safe, affordable reproductive healthcare. The author uncomplainingly describes for her readers the terror and abuses she has endured at the hands of anti-abortion fanatics in order to provide abortion services. All who believe that abortion and birth control create an equal playing field for women that enables them to control their health and very lives will feel indebted to Ms. Hoffman after reading this book. For decades she has held the torch of freedom, often a heavy burden to bear, in order to light the way for others.
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Format: Paperback
Even though the book infuriated me from time to time (not Merle's fault, but the violence and hate from the anti-women crusaders), I loved it so much. I loved reading about the activism, the politics, and the movement to legalize abortion and to keep it that way from a pioneering women herself. Merle writes with purpose and intelligence, and isn't afraid to share her worst moments alongside her best ones.

Reading this book is just another reminder that feminism's work isn't done.Women's rights are constantly under attack, especially this year. There are many people out there who'd rather see women die from an unsafe abortion than see women go through with a safe legal abortion. That is horrifying and frightening. Like Merle says in her book, these "pro-lifers" give the fetus more rights than a woman, who is overlooked and put to shame.

There were times in the book where reality was just too surreal-the deaths of physicians who performed abortions, the closing of clinics by fanatical pro-lifers. Yet this is real life. This book was personal to me as a feminist. I loved that Merle distinguished the ignorance of race in the discussion of other feminists and included it in her practice and work. Merle knows that discrimination against these minorities exist, especially when it comes to government and healthcare. It was really awesome how she covered gay and lesbian issues in her magazine On The Issues, where she even covered animal rights.

It was also upsetting for me to read how so many people tried to bring her down. It's not surprising she met so much adversity and opposition, of course. In the end, though, it just made her a stronger fighter.

I highly recommend this book for fellow feminists and anyone interested in women's rights and human rights. Because women's rights ARE human rights.
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Format: Paperback
Merle Hoffman is a force of nature! An iconoclast and a warrior, Hoffman was a firebrand in search of a cause. Not only did she find it, women everywhere benefit from her passion and commitment. I highly recommend this book for its brave first-person account of the front lines of the abortion wars, as well as Hoffman's own hard-driving vision. Also -- women entrepreneurs -- behold a woman who unapologetically embraces her power.
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Format: Kindle Edition
However, I could not due to the fact that the first 20% of the book was navel-gazing explanation of how and why she was so special, different, and not like those other women, and not about the actual fight for women's access to safe and legal abortion. That's where I stopped because I didn't particularly care about her desire to be a concert pianist or her affair with a married doctor.

If you're interested in the subject, there are several other good ones: This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund on the life of an abortion provider and The Worst of Times by Patricia G. Miller on the era of "back alley abortions".
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By Jackie on January 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
I got my hands on an early copy of this book, and - wow! Like Patti Smith's "Just Kids," Hoffman's "Intimate Wars" tells the story of a woman at the epicenter of a cultural maelstrom, who harnesses the power of the time to transform herself and the world around her. And, girl, does she tell this story well.

Hoffman gives the reader a front-row seat at feminism's coming-out party in the late twentieth century. But one doesn't need to be a "feminist" to appreciate the story, laced with obstacles, disappointments, and triumph, all of which sing from the page. Hoffman provides a riveting political and historical lesson, while simultaneously revealing her personal transformation from a head-strong dreamer to a mother-figure with earned wisdom.

In many ways, Hoffman's story is a primer for a life well lived, and shows all of us the art of the possible. A must read.
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