Mary Eberstadt

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Mary Eberstadt
Born Mary Tedeschi
Education Cornell University
Occupation Author, Essayist
Spouse(s) Nicholas Eberstadt

Mary Tedeschi Eberstadt is an American essayist, novelist, and author of several books of non-fiction. Her writing has appeared in magazines including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, National Review, First Things, The Weekly Standard, and other venues.

Education and personal life[edit]

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.[1] Eberstadt is married to author and demographer Nicholas Eberstadt.

Professional career[edit]

Eberstadt has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. New York Times columnist David Brooks has twice awarded Eberstadt's writing a “Sidney,” his annual award for best essay writing of the year.[2] Columnist George Will has called Eberstadt "intimidatingly intelligent,"[3] 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.” [4]

In 2016, HarperCollins published Eberstadt's latest book, It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, which chronicles the rise in discrimination against religious believers in the United States and elsewhere during an era of ascendant secularism.[5] The book argues that the sexual revolution has inadvertently generated a new, rival, secularist Western faith, complete with quasi-religious ritual and theology; and that this new secularist faith must learn to coexist in civility alongside traditional Judeo-Christianity, rather than seeking to drive other men and women of faith from the public square.

Thomas Farr of the Religious Freedom Project said that "every man and woman of the left should read this book." Robert P. George called it "a powerful manifesto." Russell D. Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention said that "this book will equip you to know what's happening to America's first freedom and will inspire you to act."[6]

In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted: "For traditional Christians, Eberstadt provides a language to defend their position, a comforting sense that their persecution is real, and a view of the irony of progressives curtailing freedom....[T]he final chapter's call to attend to rhetoric and avoid generalization powerfully makes the case for more civility in the midst of intense disagreement."[7]

Eberstadt is the author of several other 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. According to the book's webpage, 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.”[8] Rodney Stark called the book “A brilliant contribution to the really big question about the future of the West, and a pleasure to read.”[9]

Eberstadt is known for her writings on animal welfare, and the moral connections she draws between the pro-life and pro-animal movements. Her widely discussed 2009 essay in First Things, "Pro-Animal, Pro-Life,"[10] was followed by a number of other, related pieces on the subject, among them "The Truth About Religion and Animals,"[11] "Support for Animal Welfare Grows on the Right,"[12] and "Why Animal Lovers Should Abhor Planned Parenthood."[13]

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. Eberstadt 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.”[14]

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. P. J. 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."[15]

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, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called it “a book that should be read by every concerned parent, pastor, and policy maker.”[citation needed]

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.[16]


In 2014 Eberstadt gave Seton Hall University's commencement address and was awarded an honorary degree.[17] The choice of Eberstadt as the school's commencement speaker brought dissent from some faculty members, who objected that her values were not consistent with those of the university.[18] USA Today listed Eberstadt's address in its compilation of notable 2014 commencement speeches, alongside the speeches of John Kerry, John Legend, and Eric Holder.[19]


  1. ^ Mary Eberstadt (biography), Hoover Institution .
  2. ^ Brooks, David (Dec 29, 2009), "Sidney Awards", The New York Times .
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  8. ^ "How the West Really Lost God | Templeton Press". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  9. ^ "How the West Really Lost God | Templeton Press". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  10. ^ "Pro-Animal, Pro-Life | Mary Eberstadt". First Things. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  11. ^ "The Truth About Religion and Animals - Ethics & Public Policy Center". Ethics & Public Policy Center. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  12. ^ "Support for Animal Welfare Grows on the Right". National Review. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  13. ^ "Why Animal Lovers Should Abhor Planned Parenthood". National Review Online. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  14. ^ Gillen, Claire (April 17, 2012), "BOOK REVIEW: 'Adam and Eve After the Pill'", Washington Times .
  15. ^ "The Loser Letters". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  16. ^ "Mary Eberstadt", Authors (biography), Simon & Schuster .
  17. ^ Seton Hall University Welcomes 1248 New Alumni, Seton Hall University, May 19, 2014 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Here's to class of '14: Opinionline, 'USA Today', May 26, 2014 .

External links[edit]