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.
Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is pure, unadulterated fun — and a testament to the talents of one of the raunchiest stars of modern gonzo journalism.
Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! reads like the lovechild of Screw 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.
This book is a must-read for fans of girlie magazines and madcap gonzo culture.
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.
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.
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.
[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.