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The Century of Sex: Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, 1900-1999

The Century of Sex: Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, 1900-1999
Publisher: Grove Pr | 1999 | ISBN: 0802116523 | 548 pages | DJVU | 16,3 MB

James R. Petersen, the former Playboy Advisor, turns pop historian in The Century of Sex, a breezy, data-packed history of American sexual culture and politics in the 20th century. Although the history was commissioned by the legendary founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner explains in a foreword that the sexual revolution it chronicles is "not the one that I am sometimes credited (or, conversely, blamed for) starting.
" And so The Century of Sex begins with the battle between Anthony Comstock, the early 20th century's most powerful censor, and free-love advocate Ida Craddock (in which Comstock, pursuing charges of "circulation of obscene literature" against Craddock for distributing sex-education pamphlets through the mail, drove the activist to suicide.) Playboy's role certainly isn't overlooked, but it is situated within a context that includes changing representations of sexuality in cinema, women's and gay liberation, and the advent of cybersex. (The color plates in the middle of the book are a captivating visual synopsis, as the images get franker and more provocative.) There are a few clunkers--for example, identifying Madonna as a riot grrrl--but, all in all, Petersen's chronicle is informative and fun.

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Tags: Century, Playboy, History, Sexual, Revolution

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