Beacon Press: The Trials of Nina McCall
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The Trials of Nina McCall

Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison "Promiscuous" Women

Author: Scott W. Stern

The story of the American Plan, the longest-lasting (and now nearly forgotten) mass quarantine in American history told through the lens of one young woman's story.

In 1918, just days before her eighteenth birthday, Nina McCall was told to report to the local health officer for an STD examination. Confused and humiliated, McCall did as she was told, and the health officer performed a hasty (and invasive) examination and quickly diagnosed her with gonorrhea. Though McCall insisted she could not possibly have an STI, she was coerced into committing herself to the Bay City Detention Hospital—a facility in which she would spend almost three miserable months subjected to humiliation, experimentation, and painful injections of mercury.

Nina McCall was one of many women unfairly imprisoned by the United States government throughout the twentieth century. The government imprisoned tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of women and girls—usually without due process—simply because officials suspected these women were prostitutes, infected with STIs, or simply "promiscuous." This discriminatory program, dubbed the "American Plan," lasted from the 1910s into the 1950s.

Scott Stern tells the story of this almost forgotten program through the life of Nina McCall. Her story provides crucial insight into the lives of countless other women incarcerated under the American Plan. Stern demonstrates the pain and humiliation felt by these women, and details the multitude of mortifications they endured, both during and after their internment. Thousands of incarcerated women rioted, fought back against their oppressors, or burned their detention facilities to the ground; they jumped out of windows or scaled barbed-wire fences in order to escape. And, as Nina McCall did, they sued their captors. In an age of renewed activism surrounding healthcare, prisons, women's rights, and the power of the state, The Trials of Nina McCall is crucial reading.
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The Trials of Nina McCall

ISBN: 978-080704275-5
Publication Date: 5/8/2018
Size: x
Price:  $26.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: May 2018
(Backorder policy)