Love for Sale: A World History of Prostitution

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Grove Press, 2005 - History - 435 pages
10 Reviews
From the Whore of Babylon to The Happy Hooker, eminent historian Nils Johan Ringdal has written a masterly, extremely readable world history of the world’s oldest profession, spanning a wide historical swathe armed with a lively wit. Beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Old Testament, and ancient cultures from Greece to India and beyond, Love for Sale takes the reader on a tour through the entire recorded history of prostitution up to the modern red-light district. It shows how different societies have dealt with prostitutes--ancient Greece, Rome, and India incorporated them into several social echelons, including the priestess class; their close relations with artists in 19th-century Europe made them muses to the modern sensibility; the Victorians campaigned against them. It shows the similarities between medieval European heterosexuals and contemporary gay men when visiting public baths, gives lively commentary on the classic Fanny Hill and on Emma Goldman’s and Eva Peron’s sympathy for prostitutes, and closes with Sydney Biddle Barrows, the rise of the sex-workers’ rights movement and contemporary "sex-positive” feminism, and a realistic look at the true risks and rewards of prostitution in the present day.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - authorjanebnight - LibraryThing

What I liked- This non fiction book followed a logical sequence and was filled with interesting facts. I especially liked the chapter about Mary Magdalene. What I didn’t like- About halfway through ... Read full review

Review: Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution

User Review  - Birgit - Goodreads

Loved this book. There is a lot of information and that we are not taught in schools. Apparently, many of the churches in London are built from the proceeds of prostitution...apparently, an immense ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Ringdal's books and articles--about such subjects as justice and law enforcement, literary and cultural history, and the German occupation during World War II--reliably arouse debate in his native Norway. Ringdal began Love for Sale when his partner, a physician, consulted with prostitutes in designing an AIDS-prevention program that earned notice from the World Health Organization. He divides his time between Norway and Bali.

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