Love for Sale: A World History of Prostitution

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Grove Press, 2004 - Social Science - 435 pages
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The exchange of sex for money is often cited as the first profession, and it is certainly the most controversial--from Eve and Lilith to Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman, the prostitute has been a lightning rod for changing notions of love, sexual identity, morality, and gender. Now eminent historian Nils Johan Ringdal delivers a magisterial, extremely readable world history of this most maligned, and most persistent, form of human commerce. 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 around the globe up to the modern red-light district. It shows how different societies have viewed and dealt with prostitutes. It uncovers the first manuals of sex and seduction and tells the stories of the British Empire's campaigns against prostitution in India and the "comfort women" who served the armies in the Pacific theater of World War II. It closes with the rise of the sex-workers' rights movement and "sex-positive" feminism, and a realistic look at the true risks and rewards of prostitution in the present day. "Love for Sale spans a wide historical swath armed with a lively wit and no-nonsense grasp of sex that recalls Camille Paglia's "Sexual Personae.

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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

LOVE FOR SALE: A World History of Prostitution

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A survey of the world's oldest profession, which becomes, in effect, a sexual history of the world.Not terribly interested in gender-crusading, but still more intellectually rigorous than Camille ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

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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