Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict That Divided America

Eyal Press, Author . Holt $25 (292p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7731-5

In this inside look at a battleground of the abortion debate—Buffalo, N.Y.—the son of an abortion provider examines both sides of the culture clash that envelops his Israeli father's life. Drawing comparisons with the religious fundamentalism of his father's homeland, Press takes the reader on a brisk, compelling tour of a city that saw both Operation Rescue's massive "Spring of Life" protests in 1992 and the 1998 murder of abortion provider Barnett Slepian. Both events swirled around the lives of Press's defiant father, Shalom, who "at the core of his identity" couldn't "back down in the face of a threat," and his mother, Carla, a Holocaust survivor who endured comparisons of abortion clinics to Nazi death camps. Part memoir and part reportage, Press's book provides a piercing look at local leaders of both camps and follows the dramatic arrest, confession and sentencing of Slepian's killer, James Kopp. While more insight into his father's experience would have enhanced the story, Press's incisive account of an immigrant family at the center of an American culture war is a gripping read. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/19/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-312-42657-6
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