This astonishing biography of Alfred Kinsey, the man who launched the sexual revolution, is graphically frank about his decidedly out-of-the-mainstream sexual practices (including masochism and voyeurism), yet historian James Jones doesn't exploit the material for titillation. Instead, Jones argues compassionately and persuasively that Kinsey's personal sexual demons sparked his campaign to demolish Victorian taboos about sex by gathering the scientific data eventually published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
(1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
(1953). Jones reveals that the data were hardly as unbiased as Kinsey claimed, but it was world-shaking nonetheless. Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life
is a magnificent work of cultural history as well as a sensitive study of a troubled individual.
From Library Journal
Nearly 50 years after the publication of Kinsey's landmark studies on human sexual behavior, this scholarly biography honors "the high priest of sexual liberation." History professor Jones (Bad Blood, LJ 4/1/81) heralds Alfred Charles Kinsey as "among the most influential Americans of the twentieth century." Jones persuasively interprets Kinsey's life as an unrelenting struggle to use science to free himself from his own religious upbringing and the sexual guilt he knew as a boy. Jones reveals how Kinsey was a covert revolutionary who used science to lay siege to middle-class morality. Overall, Jones paints a brilliant picture of a controversial, dedicated scientist whose taxonomic research with insects eventually opened the Pandora's box that few realized was housed at the Institute for Human Sex Research in Bloomington, Indiana. Jones has some "shocking" revelations (Kinsey's "hidden agenda" and his homosexuality), but this fascinating biography provides insights into recent cultural history and a tormented man who exposed the prevailing norms of sexual conduct as national hypocrisy. Highly recommended.-?James Swanton, Harlem Hosp. Lib., New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.