Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers-An American Tale of Sex and Wonder

Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers-An American Tale of Sex and Wonder

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by Mike Edison
     
 

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A wild and uncompromising history of four infamous magazines and the outlaws behind them, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is the first book to rip the sheet off of the sleazy myth-making machine of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and reveal the doomed history of Hefner’s arch rival, Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, whose messiah complex and heedless

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Overview

A wild and uncompromising history of four infamous magazines and the outlaws behind them, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is the first book to rip the sheet off of the sleazy myth-making machine of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and reveal the doomed history of Hefner’s arch rival, Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, whose messiah complex and heedless spending — on a legendary flop of a movie paid for with bags of cash, a porn magazine for women, and a pie-in-the sky scheme for a portable nuclear reactor —fueled the greatest riches to rags story ever told.

The adventure begins in the early 1950s and rips through the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s —when Hustler’s Larry Flynt and Screw’s Al Goldstein were arrested dozens of times, recklessly pushing the boundaries of free speech, attacking politicians, and putting unapologetic filth front and center — through the 1990s when a sexed-up culture high on the Internet finally killed the era when men looked for satisfaction in the centerfold. As America goes, so goes it’s porn.

Along the way we meet many unexpected heroes—John Lennon, Lenny Bruce, Helen Gurley Brown, and the staff of Mad magazine among them—and villains—from Richard Nixon and the Moral Majority to Hugh Hefner himself, whose legacy, we learn, is built on a self-perpetuated lie.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!

"[Edison] takes readers on an enthusiastic romp through the rise and fall of the major porno magazines of the 20th century, while profiling the self-imploding personalities who innovated effective ways of selling sexual fantasies to the average sexually dissatisfied male . . . An interesting study of the ways influence can snowball." —Kirkus

Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is a book that really lives up to it’s title. It’s not only dirty—it’s funny, highly opinionated, and—God help us—informative. Hard to believe someone hasn’t written the history of American pornography before this, but Mike Edison is absolutely the man for the job.” —Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City

"Mike Edison can go toe to toe with some of the best writers of the (old) New Journalism. This is foul-mouthed popular history at its most entertaining. Plenty smart, too—and also, strange to say, poignant and loving."
—Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

"Edison is a fast enough talker to move the reader quickly into what turns out to be a well-crafted history of censorship and sex." –LA Weekly

"This book is a must-read for fans of girlie magazines and madcap gonzo culture." —Library Journal

"Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! An American Tale of Sex & Wonder is pure, unadulterated fun—and a testament to the talents of one of the raunchiest stars of modern gonzo journalism." —Flavorpill

"Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! reads like the lovechild of Screw magazine and Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States . . . Man-haters may be silenced in noticing that a prevalent persuasion in the book is Edison’s staunch feminism . . . he loves people and their freedoms . . . he is the gentleman pornographer.”–Jewcy.com

Library Journal
If Hunter S. Thompson and Cheech and Chong had collaborated on writing an informal and unexpurgated history of American girlie magazines, it would be something like this book. Edison (I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of…the Most Notorious Magazines in the World) traces the rise and fall of porn purveyors Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Bob Guccione (Penthouse), Larry Flynt (Hustler), and Al Goldstein (Screw). With raunchy humor, he peeks into the seedy subculture of pornography amid changing American mores, from the relatively staid pages of Hefner's men's lifestyle magazine to the hard-core sex rags of his successors. Most interesting are the author's salient reminders of how these publishers became unlikely champions of the First Amendment. VERDICT Although not well sourced and bogged down by (admittedly amusing) first-person asides and footnotes, this book is a must-read for fans of girlie magazines and madcap gonzo culture. Readers not wanting to be exposed to vulgar language and graphic content should stay away. (Recent related scholarly sociological studies include Carrie Pitzulo's Bachelors and Bunnies and Elizabeth Fraterrigo's Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America.)—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran porn editor and novelist looks at the history of American girlie mags. Edison (I Have Fun Wherever I Go, 2008, etc.)--former High Times publisher, Hustler and Penthouse correspondent and editor in chief of Screw magazine--takes readers on an enthusiastic romp through the rise and fall of the major porno magazines of the 20th century, while profiling the self-imploding personalities who innovated effective ways of selling sexual fantasies to the average sexually dissatisfied male. Edison credibly insists that it's these pornographers who have done all the important free-expression dirty work. His loudmouthed prose voice mixes punk attitude with a self-conscious literary style, giving a racy but otherwise conventional biographical account of high-rolling porn peddlers like Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt. It's an interesting study of the ways influence can snowball: Using Esquire as a springboard, Hefner's Playboy became the innovator of men's pin-up magazines, with incrementally raunchier improvements made to this publishing model over the years by big guns like Penthouse, Hustler, and Screw. Predictably, Edison trashes Hefner as a woman hater and increasingly clueless antiquarian. Penthouse honcho Guccione and Screw founder Goldstein have the most extreme rags-to-riches-to-rags stories. Guccione made a fortune with his Vaseline-lensed nudie shots but lost it all in a predictable maelstrom of stupidity and greed. Goldstein went on to million-dollar success in New York with his hotheaded porno-political humor but was eventually felled by the Internet and (surprise!) arrogance and greed. Lawsuit-addled wheelchair warrior Flynt comes across as heroic in comparison: two bullets in the back and he's still running a diversified, expanding porn empire. However, the brunt of the biographical facts on Flynt and Hefner seems more like common knowledge for most readers interested in Edison's subject. More intriguing are the author's findings on lesser players in the porn game, such as the extraordinarily hapless Ralph Ginzburg, among others. Brash and fun, but the biographical research yields few titillating surprises--not as consistently entertaining as the electric I Have Fun Everywhere I Go.
T. Rees Shapiro
Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!, a history of the porn industry and its characters, is authoritatively written and astonishingly well, um, researched…Edison's narrative is breezy, easy to ready, often comical…
—The Washington Post

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593762841
Publisher:
Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
918,458
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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