Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco

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Oxford University Press, USA, Sep 21, 2009 - History - 304 pages
5 Reviews
Since the 1960s, San Francisco has been America's capital of sexual libertinism and a potent symbol in its culture wars. In this highly original book, Josh Sides explains how this happened, unearthing long-forgotten stories of the city's sexual revolutionaries, as well as the legions of longtime San Franciscans who tried to protect their vision of a moral metropolis. Erotic dancers, prostitutes, birth control advocates, pornographers, free lovers, and gay libbers transformed San Francisco's political landscape and its neighborhoods in ways seldom appreciated. But as sex radicals became more visible in the public spaces of the city, many San Franciscans reacted violently. The assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were but the most brazen acts in a city caught up in a battle over morality, a battle that often spilled over onto sidewalk violence against free-love hippies, gays and lesbians. It was a moral conflict exploited by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party, and seized by Hollywood as a flamboyant backdrop for a raft of vigilante movies, most notably the Dirty Harry series set in San Francisco. Perhaps most important, Josh Sides illuminates the many ways that human desire has shaped the destiny of postwar San Francisco--and much of postwar urban America. Indeed, he shows that one cannot understand the American city--nor modern America politics--without taking into account both the real and the imagined transformation of our urban areas into repositories of sexual desire.

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Review: Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco

User Review  - Evan - Goodreads

It's interesting as hell, and it told me a lot of stuff I didn't know or hadn't realized. (Sides' main point is that shit started getting heavy in San Francisco when sexual liberation extended past ... Read full review

Review: Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

Unlike other urban scholars who paint race as the key driver of city transformation, Sides argues that changes in sexual culture and morality, articulated by specific sexual radicals, drove the ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Josh Sides is the Whitsett Professor of California History and the Director of the Center for Southern California Studies at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present.

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