Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History

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9780316039307: Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History

Make Love, Not War is the first full-scale history of how the Sexual Revolution changed life in America forever. A fascinating and frank portrait of private lives and public discourse, it traces changes from the deceptively repressive Fifties, to the first tremors of rebellion in the early Sixties and the sexual rights movement of the mid Sixties, to the heady heyday of the Revolution (1969-73), and the counterrevolution in the early Seventies.

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Review:

A whirlwind tour of the sexual revolution in America, Make Love, Not War grew from the author's fascination with a bygone period of rebellion and experimentation whose effects linger throughout the culture. Born in 1969, David Allyn remembers "growing up with the vague sense of having missed something magical and mysterious. I remember the adolescent's agony of realizing that my parents and teachers had witnessed extraordinary social transformations, the likes of which we might never see again." Allyn's zest for his subject, and his dewy-eyed admiration of the sexual pioneers of the '60s and '70s, make him a pleasure to read, although the topic may be too large for a book of this size. There is little space to put subjects like public nudity, the demise of censorship, and the challenge to miscegenation laws into historical context. The author's more detailed discussions fare better, and he offers engaging new source material--in many cases from his own interviews--on open marriage, the joys of the Pill, gay liberation, and the sexual double standard. Although an advocate for sexual freedom, Allyn notes the paradox that "perhaps, in the end, shining the light of liberation into every dark corner of daily life has made it more difficult to indulge in some sexual pleasures spontaneously and unself-consciously." We may now feel an urge to define ourselves sexually at a young age, he argues, missing out on the thrill of the forbidden, and the chance to just fool around. --Regina Marler

About the Author:

David Allyn has a Ph.D from Harvard and teaches history at Princeton University.

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