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Mary Tedeschi Eberstadt is an American author and essayist and a senior fellow at the politically conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington, DC. The EPPC website said her work focuses on issues in American society, culture, and philosophy.
Education and personal life
Eberstadt grew up in rural upstate New York. She graduated magna cum laude in 1983 from Cornell University, where she was a four-year Telluride Scholar. Eberstadt is married to author and demographer Nicholas Eberstadt.
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Eberstadt has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Time, The Washington Post, National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, First Things, The Times[which?], the Claremont Review of Books, The American Spectator, Commentary, and Policy Review.
New York Times columnist David Brooks has twice awarded Eberstadt's writing a “Sidney,” his annual award for best essay writing of the year. Columnist George Will has called Eberstadt "intimidatingly intelligent," and author George Weigel has called her “our premier analyst of American cultural foibles and follies, with a keen eye for oddities that illuminate just how strange the country’s moral culture has become.”
Eberstadt is the author of several books, including How the West Really Lost God, published in 2013. How the West Really Lost God, fortified with an intensive study of both historical data and contemporary popular culture, proffers the original thesis that the undermining of the family in Western culture has in turn helped power religious decline. Francis Fukuyama wrote of the book, “Mary Eberstadt is one of the most acute and creative social observers of our time. She is not afraid to challenge received wisdom and her insights are always well worth pondering.” Rodney Start called the book “A brilliant contribution to the really big question about the future of the West, and a pleasure to read.” In 2014, the book was named on the Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award shortlist.
Eberstadt also authored Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, published in 2012. The book examines how the sexual revolution has produced widespread discontent among men and women, and has harmed the weakest members of society. “No single event since Eve took the apple has been as consequential for relations between the sexes as the arrival of modern contraception,” writes Eberstadt. The book's later chapters explore contemporary rhetoric and moralism and ask provocatively, is food the new sex? Is porn the new tobacco? Eberstadt also explores the portrayal of the sexual revolution in pop culture voices, pinpointing “a wildly contradictory mix of chatter about how wonderful it is that women are now all liberated for sexual fun--and how mysteriously impossible it has become to find a good, steady, committed boyfriend at the same time.”
Eberstadt published her first work of fiction in 2010, The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism. The book satirically follows the experiences of a young Christian converting to atheism. Scot McKnight of Beliefnet wrote that “[CS] Lewis now has a rival: The Loser Letters.” The Catholic Post called it “an instant classic.” PJ O’Rourke wrote that “Mary Eberstadt is the rightful heir and assignée of CS Lewis, and her heroine in The Loser Letters is the legitimate child (or perhaps grandchild) of ‘the patient’ in The Screwtape Letters."
In 2007, Eberstadt edited and contributed to the introductory essay in Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle their Political Journeys, which featured personal essays by prominent conservative writers, editors, and pundits. Christopher Buckley called the book “A thoroughly engaging, witty, and instructive series of essays by the best and rightest of our generation."
Eberstadt’s first book, Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs and Other Parent Substitutes, argued that separating children from family members at early ages is linked to childhood problems such as obesity and rising rates of mental and behavioral disorders. The book also connected these problems to popular culture, particularly as reflected in adolescent music (including the award-winning chapter, “Eminem is Right”). R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called it “a book that should be read by every concerned parent, pastor, and policy maker.”
Eberstadt served as a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 2002-2013. From 1990 to 1998, Eberstadt was executive editor of National Interest magazine. Between 1985 and 1987, she was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the US State Department and a speechwriter for then Secretary of State George P. Shultz. In 1984–85 she was a special assistant to Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Eberstadt was also a managing editor of the Public Interest.
Seton Hall University Commencement Address
In 2014, Eberstadt gave commencement remarks at Seton Hall University, entitled You are More Important than You Know. The choice of Eberstadt as the school's commencement speaker brought dissent from some faculty members, whose complaints were dismissed by the university as would-be impositions on Eberstadt's intellectual freedom.
- "Mary Eberstadt - Ethics and Public Policy Center", Ethics and Public Policy Center, October 7, 2014.
- Mary Eberstadt (biography), Hoover Institution.
- Brooks, David (Dec 29, 2009), "Sidney Awards", The New York Times.
- "Mary Eberstadt", Authors (biography), Simon & Schuster.