This is a hard book for me to rate. It is well written but Georgia Tann is a truly evil person and that makes it uncomfortable to read. She was very publicly praised for helping the poor orphans while using the poor and not just orphaned children to make money and connections for herself. Fascinating and sad. Not something I am ever likely to re-read.
I could not get into this book, found it hard to hold my attention. If it would of started out more on what happened with the children and then her life might of been better. I just didn't care for this book.
The Baby Thief is a horrid story of how one women in Memphis, Tennessee, manipulated the adoption system of the entire United States from approximately 1905 - 1950 when she died.
Georgia Tann made adoption, which was almost unheard of in the "upper crust" of society popular by giving babies to such people as Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest), and seveal other "stars," in the hopes of popularizing adoptions for the rich.
Georgia connected with Senators and other congressmen to pass laws to permanently close addoption files so she could falsify information without fear of being found out.
Georgia stole children from their parents under the pretenst of offering them help during the depression, paid midwives to tell mothers their babies had died at birth while she ran off with the live child, had "spotters" on every corner in major cities, who would bring unsuspecting pregnant girls into her "maternity homes:" with promises of shelter, food and a free delivery - problem was, she was steeling the babies. Parents all over the country would spend years searching for children she had stolen while officals in Tennessee looked the other way.
The book is well researched, cites hundreds of references, and as an adoptee opened my eyes to how the adoption system in America became so complicated and CLOSED. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in adoption, or in the triangle of adoption - mother, adopted parents and/or adoptee.
Four thirty years Georgia Tann used her dominating personalty to corrupt the already horrific adoption practice even further. Using her Children's home in Memphis, Tennessee she was able to profit off the poor and uneducated by stealing thier children and selling them to the rich.
The story is heartbreaking and disturbing. The book is not the best written book but it does hold your attention.