I’m reposting a fabulous, complimentary review of The Forbidden Apple by Amazon.com Top 50 Reviewer Rob Hardy. Rob is not the demo I’d expect to laud The Forbidden Apple–he lives in rural Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife, three kids and multiple pets–but I’m extremely grateful that he took the plunge and submitted an erudite, thoughtful review of my sexy, urban book. Thanks, Rob!
“Before pornography was a few clicks away on your computer, and then before you could slip a videotape of an X-rated movie into your VCR, you had to go out to see performed porn. You also had to go out to buy dirty magazines. Any American city big enough had places for such commerce, but there was no commercial sex scene more famous than that of our biggest city. It isn’t surprising that the history of New York’s sex-for-sale is lively and full of contradictions, and in The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City (Ig Publishing), journalist and social historian Kat Long has chronicled the ups and downs of the city’s sex trade. Because New York leads the nation in many ways, this is a history of sexual culture in the United States, with particular attention to what has gone down in New York and in particular within the famous Times Square region. Long shows that though the region has been cleaned up for a few years, there has been over a century of attempts to rid the city of vice. The different versions of the vice squad through the century have fought the battle in different ways, but there has been so much give and take between the sides that it makes sense, as Long shows, to look at the different forces as symbiotic. “As everyone knows, the city is being rebuilt,” she quotes Police Chief William McAdoo as saying, “and vice moves ahead of business.” He said this, however, over a hundred years ago, and it remains true. Continue reading