The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander

Welcome to the Hooker Prize - in honor of Elliot Spitzer and his fall from grace in a New York minute, AbeBooks.com has compiled a list of 10 recommended non-fiction reads about hookers, madams, high-class callgirls and prostitutes. Prostitution, of course, is the oldest profession in the world and has fascinated readers for centuries. Since the 1970s, there has been a wealth of memoirs from ‘ladies of the night’ so here’s the literary lowdown on the callgirl culture.

Callgirl by Jeannette Angell

The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander, a one-time New York madam, was published in 1972 and her website claims the memoir, very candid for the time, has sold more than 15 million copies. In 1975, it was made into a movie starring Lynne Redgrave. Another memoir, Callgirl, reveals the double life of Jeannette Angell, a college lecturer by day and a $200-an-hour high-class callgirl by night. The wonderfully named Sydney Biddle Barrows wrote the Mayflower Madam in 1986. Barrows, from an upper-class Philadelphia family and a Mayflower descendant, gained notoriety after her escort service business was shut down but she cashed in with the book after a high-profile court case.

Two books - Soiled doves: prostitution in the early West by Anne Seagraves and The Madams of San Francisco by Curt Gentry - reflect on the role of prostitutes in winning the West. Alexa Albert’s Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women is an account of the women working in America’s largest brothel.

 

10 non-fiction books about prostitutes recommended by AbeBooks.com:

Love for Sale by Nils Johan Ringdal
Sex Work by Frederique Delacoste
  1. The Happy Hooker: My Own Story by Xaviera Hollander
  2. Callgirl by Jeannette Angell
  3. Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows by Sydney Biddle Barrows
  4. Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution by Nils Johan Ringdal
  5. Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert
  6. Sex Work by Frederique Delacoste
  7. Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
  8. Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves
  9. Courtesans: Money, Sex and Fame in the Nineteenth Century by Katie Hickman
  10. The Madams of San Francisco by Curt Gentry

 

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