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February 19, 2023 @ 6:30 pm
In-Person: An Evening with Joshua Prager | THE FAMILY ROE
Books & Books presents…
AN EVENING WITH JOSHUA PRAGER
in conversation with
(W. W. Norton & Company, $20.00)
Sunday, February 19th, 6:30 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables
Books & Books is thrilled to present an evening with Joshua Prager, in conversation with Abigail Pogrebin, discussing his critically acclaimed book: The Family Roe: An American Story (W. W. Norton & Company, $20.00).
This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event so make sure to stay after the talk for a book signing! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.
About the Book:
“The scope is sweeping, the writing is beautiful. It’s an epic story worthy of the impact this one case has had on the American psyche.” Michel Martin, NPR
“Stupendous…. If you want to understand Roe more deeply before the coming decision, read it.” Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
A masterpiece of reporting on the Supreme Court’s most divisive case, Roe v. Wade, and the unknown lives at its heart.
Despite her famous pseudonym, “Jane Roe,” no one knows the truth about Norma McCorvey (1947–2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1969 opened a great fracture in American life. Journalist Joshua Prager spent hundreds of hours with Norma, discovered her personal papers—a previously unseen trove—and witnessed her final moments. The Family Roe presents her life in full. Propelled by the crosscurrents of sex and religion, gender and class, it is a life that tells the story of abortion in America.
Prager begins that story on the banks of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River where Norma was born, and where unplanned pregnancies upended generations of her forebears. A pregnancy then upended Norma’s life too, and the Dallas waitress became Jane Roe.
Drawing on a decade of research, Prager reveals the woman behind the pseudonym, writing in novelistic detail of her unknown life from her time as a sex worker in Dallas to her private thoughts on family and abortion to her dealings with feminist and Christian leaders to the three daughters she placed for adoption.
Prager found those women, including the youngest—Baby Roe—now fifty years old. She shares her story in The Family Roe for the first time, from her tortured interactions with her birth mother to her emotional first meeting with her sisters, to the burden that was uniquely hers from conception.
The Family Roe abounds in such revelations—not only about Norma and her children but about the broader “family” connected to the case. Prager tells the stories of activists and bystanders alike whose lives intertwined with Roe. In particular, he introduces three figures as important as they are unknown: feminist lawyer Linda Coffee, who filed the original Texas lawsuit yet now lives in obscurity; Curtis Boyd, a former fundamentalist Christian, today a leading provider of third-trimester abortions; and Mildred Jefferson, the first black female Harvard Medical School graduate, who became a pro-life leader with great secrets.
An epic work spanning fifty years of American history, The Family Roe will change the way you think about our enduring American divide: the right to choose or the right to life.
Finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR’s Best Books of 2021
A New York Times Notable Book of 2021
One of TIME’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2021
About the Author:
Joshua Prager’s latest book is The Family Roe: An American Story. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has been embraced by people on both sides of the abortion issue. Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal that it was “stupendous, a masterwork of reporting,” while the New York Times Book Review called it “an honest glimpse into the American soul.” Joshua is also the author of The Echoing Green (a Washington Post Best Book of the Year) and 100 Years, a collaboration with Milton Glaser, the graphic designer who created the I ♥ NY logo. Joshua has written for the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He was a Nieman fellow at Harvard, and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Hebrew University, and has spoken at venues including TED and Google. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. www.joshuaprager.com
About the Moderator:
Abigail Pogrebin moderates public interviews for the Manhattan JCC, the Streicker Center, and the Hartman Institute, and has interviewed luminaries including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Spielberg, Madeleine Albright and Malcolm Gladwell. A former Emmy-nominated producer for 60 Minutes, she is also the author of several books, most recently “My Jewish Year,” which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. She has written for The Atlantic, New York Magazine and Newsweek, and has been a guest on CNN, GMA, and Face the Nation.
Abigail inherited a lifelong interest in reproductive rights from her mother Letty Cottin Pogrebin who was one of the co-founders of Ms. Magazine.