Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Eric Berkowitz

Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire

The Westbourne Press
Publication date: May 2012
ISBN: 9781908906014
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
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The ‘raging frenzy’ of the sex drive has always defied control, yet thousands of years of civilization have tried to do so, wielding their most formidable weapon: the law. At any given point in time, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a century or two and the harmless fun of one time period becomes the gravest crime in another. Sex and Punishment tells the story of the struggle throughout millennia to regulate the most powerful engine of human behaviour: sex. Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz evokes the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an Ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for ‘gross indecency’. The cast of Sex and Punishment is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes and London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged – and justice, as Berkowitz shows – rarely had anything to do with it. ‘A wonderful exposure of attempts to regulate sexual activity’ Mary Beard ‘I don't think I've ever read such an entertaining historical work. It has the wisdom granted by perspective, without the condescension of someone who thinks we're wiser than our ancestors. Whether you want to fuel your indignation, or simply furnish yourself with enough jaw-dropping data to galvanise a hundred party conversations, you really must shell out for this book. It's worth every penny.’ Guardian, Nicholas Lezard’s Paperback of the Week ‘An illuminating and deftly told account of the two urges that have done so much to define civilization: humanity’s appetite for sex and its concern to regulate the consequences’ Sadakat Kadri, author of The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O. J. Simpson ‘Sex and Punishment is built on solid scholarship and spiced with plenty of sordid details’ Christopher Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality ‘Enlightening, well written and timely’ Richard A. Posner, author of Sex and Reason
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