From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. An episode in American adoption history little remembered by the public at large, the crimes of nationally-lauded Memphis orphanage director Georgia Tann are skillfully and passionately recounted by freelance writer Raymond, herself an adoptive mom. The portrait of Tann that emerges is a domineering, indefatigable figure with an insane commitment to ends-justify-the-means logic, who oversaw three decades of baby-stealing, baby-selling and unprecedented neglect. Meanwhile, she did more to popularize, commercialize and influence adoption in America than anyone before her. Tann operated carte blanche under corrupt Mayor Edward Hull Crump from the 1920s to the '50s, employing a nefarious network of judges, attorneys, social workers and politicos, whom she sometimes bribed with "free" babies; her clients included the rich, the famous and the entirely unfit (who more than occasionally returned their disappointing children for a refund). "Spotters" located babies and young children ripe for abduction-from women too uneducated or exhausted to fight back-and Tann made standard practice of altering birth certificates and secreting away adoption records to attract buyers and cover her tracks-self-serving moves that have become standard practice in modern adoption. A riveting array of interviews with Tann's former charges reveals adults still struggling with their adoption ordeal, childhood memories stacked with sexual abuse, torture and confusion. Raymond's dogged investigation makes a strong case for "ridding adoptions of lies and secrets," warning that "until we do, Tann and her imitators will continue to corrupt adoption." A rigorous, fascinating, page-turning tale, this important book is not for the timorous.
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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in 2007!
An episode in American adoption history little remembered by the public at large, the crimes of nationally-lauded Memphis orphanage director Georgia Tann are skillfully and passionately recounted by freelance writer Raymond...A rigorous, fascinating, page-turning tale.” Publishers Weekly starred review
A fascinating dark tale of Ms. Tann's influence [that] gives voice to the brokenhearted children and their birth parents damaged by her actions.
[R]iveting.” Dallas Morning News
Raymond recounts this astonishing and horrifying true story with tremendous self-awareness and intrepid research into Tann's ongoing legacy.” The Tampa Tribune
Fascinating, insightful, chilling and compelling. A very important book and a terrific read.” Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation
"The Baby Thief is a hallmark of investigative journalisman emotionally charged story of families living through a dark and complex time in American history. It is handled with honesty and tact. It will change you forever."--Doris Booth, Authorlink.com
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