From the Whore of Babylon to The Happy Hooker, eminent historian Nils Johan Ringdal has written a masterly, extremely readable world history of the world's oldest profession, spanning a wide historical swathe armed with a lively wit. Beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Old Testament, and ancient cultures from Greece to India and beyond, Love for Sale takes the listener on a tour through the entire recorded history of prostitution up to the modern red-light district. It shows how different societies have dealt with prostitutes: ancient Greece, Rome, and India incorporated them into several social echelons, including the priestess class; their close relations with artists in 19th-century Europe made them muses to the modern sensibility; the Victorians campaigned against them. It shows the similarities between medieval European heterosexuals and contemporary gay men when visiting public baths, gives lively commentary on the classic Fanny Hill and on Emma Goldman's and Eva Peron's sympathy for prostitutes, and closes with Sydney Biddle Barrows, the rise of the sex-workers' rights movement and contemporary "sex-positive" feminism, and a realistic look at the true risks and rewards of prostitution in the present day.
©1997, 2004 1997, 2004 by Nils Johan Ringdal. Danish edition 1998 by Tiderne Skifter. Translation copyright 2004 by Richard Daly. This English translation ispublished by arrangement with Tiderne Skifter, Copenhagen, and the financial support ofNORLA Non-Fiction is gratefully acknowledged. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I couldn't fully appreciate the story, since the quality of audio editing was extremely poor. It sounded like the book was patched up from the audio pieces recorded in different studios by different people and using different technology. And I am not talking about chapters sounding different, I am talking about sentences, parts of which appear to have been erased and replaced by separately recorded pieces. Not the usual Audible's high quality standard. I struggled to keep going but had to give up after a couple of hours, and was very tempted to claim my credit back.
Yes, it looks like the author has done some remarkable research on the topic, but the presentation is boring, and I am not talking about the narrator in this case.
The writing is a bit dry, but many of the stories are fascinating. Ringdal says he rewrote the first chapter for the English translation, but I still found it a bit confusing and unclear. I'm glad I listened, but doubt I will revisit this audiobook.
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