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A tenacious doctor with a sharp eye for detail brings us a unique and completely absorbing look at the world's oldest profession in Brothel. As an aspiring medical student with a keen interest in public health, Alexa Albert was shocked to learn that prostitution was legal in the state of Nevada. But what she found equally surprising was that Nevada's licensed brothels are remarkably free from the violence and drugs commonly associated with prostitution, and that the incidence of "entertainers" transmitting HIV and other STDs is virtually nonexistent. So, is legalized prostitution better for the working girls -- and the public -- than illegal prostitution? She was determined to find out.
With astonishing determination, Dr. Albert traveled to Nevada to expose the day-to-day world of Nevada's houses of prostitution. As a guest at the legendary Mustang Ranch brothel, she met a colorful, often tragic set of characters. Readers are introduced to a number of women, many of whom are mothers and wives as well as prostitutes. We also meet a host of supporting players -- including George, a retired minister with the unlikely job of executive director of the Nevada Brothel Association (not to be confused with the NBA). Dr. Albert doesn't let the doors of the "bedrooms," where the women entertain their clients, keep her from her research, either. She goes behind them, playing "voyeur," as she wrestles with the question at the root of her exploration. Her account is both a bracing political discussion and a disarming view of a distinctive slice of life. (Summer 2001 Selection)