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Banned in Boston

The Watch and Ward Society’s Crusade Against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil
Narrated by: Peter Johnson
Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A lively history of the Watch and Ward Society - New England's notorious literary censor for over eighty years. Banned in Boston is the first-ever history of the Watch and Ward Society - once Boston's unofficial moral guardian. An influential watchdog organization, bankrolled by society's upper crust, it actively suppressed vices like gambling and prostitution, and oversaw the mass censorship of books and plays. A spectacular romp through the Puritan City, here Neil Miller relates the scintillating story of how a powerful band of Brahmin moral crusaders helped make Boston the most straitlaced city in America, forever linked with the infamous catchphrase "banned in Boston."

©2011 Neil Miller (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Susie
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-28-12

The Watch and Ward's Influence on U.S. Morality

Neil Miller is one of my favorite history writers— a gifted poet on the history of sexual liberation and suppression.

Miller's fascinating history of the New England Watch and Ward Society depicts their efforts to keep Boston free of lasciviousness and “vice.” Neil is a wizard of juicy anecdotes, period details, and the sort of narrative that puts the story in history.

The pre-curser to today's religious hypcorites were Boston's notorious "Watch and Ward." They excelled at kink while they were trying to "protect" Boston from prostitutes and "fantasies of urination."

Miller looks at the warring dogmas of free speech and puritanism that set precedence for legal and culture wars that we see unfolding today. If you want to know why Americans became famous for their absurd prudery, this is your map and compass.

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A little on the tedious side

What disappointed you about Banned in Boston?

This one just seems to go on and on and on and yet never really goes anywhere.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Relief.

What didn’t you like about Peter Johnson’s performance?

Too dry.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was no doubt well and passionately researched.