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American Gangbang: A Love Story Hardcover – October 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451627785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451627787
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A delicious combination of racy, raunchy and radical—a sex story with a conscience." —Kirkus

"Fascinating . . . A disturbing and remarkable debut." —Publishers Weekly

“One of the Sexiest Books of the Year.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Sam Benjamin is as agile a sleaze sherpa as a reader could hope for, guiding us through the porno landscape in all of its revolting, transcendent glory. As a matter of course, this memoir brims with heart, humor, passion and precision – and unwavering candor."—Grace Krilanovich, author of The Orange Eats Creeps

"If you threw Tom Wolfe, Groucho Marx, Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS and the cast of Porky's II together in a Burbank motel room with a camcorder and a mattress soaked with amyl nitrate and they all had an orgy, and that orgy wrote a book, it would be American Gangbang—a sleazy goofball romp of surprising wit, with an endearingly gooey center."—Cintra Wilson, author of Colors Insulting to Nature and Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny

"Sam Benjamin has written the seemingly impossible: a memoir about making porn that is utterly hilarious and only a tiny bit tragic."—Rev Jen, author of Elf Girl

"This cumming of age tale is the quintessential American story. Young man has a dream. Works hard. Rises to the top. Bottoms out when he finds the top is filled with filth and hardcore degradation. Shockingly honest, whip smart, funny and disturbing, Sam Benjamin exposes the gaping chasm between fantasy and reality when it comes to filming sex for money. Imagine The Graduate if the hero dove into porn instead of Mrs. Robinson."—David Henry Sterry, author of Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent

"For an eye-opening (and occasionally eye-covering) descent into the underworld of porn, you couldn’t ask for a better Dante than Sam Benjamin. Possessing a charismatic voice, equal parts lusty and lovely, he’s the wheatgrass-juicing, camera-zooming, over-sharing heart of this hilarious, occasionally horrifying memoir."—Andy Greenwald, author of Miss Misery and Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo

"Remarkably, Sam Benjamin has written a book that will appeal to porn enthusiasts, anti-porn crusaders, and the millions of who find themselves stuck in the middle. Sure, American Gangbang is filthy and over-sexed; it's also deeply conflicted and at times, unsettling. But the real shock is how much anyone can relate in spite of all the fake tits and endless flowing lube. In American Gangbang, as in life, smut just kind of happens. In that, it looks an awful lot like love."—Bethlehem Shoals, founder of FreeDarko.com and co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History

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Customer Reviews

This book makes reading better than porn.
Chris
With unflinching honesty, wisdom, and humor, San Benjamin chronicles a disturbing and redemptive quest for self-discovery that will resonate with a lot of readers.
Claire
I read the book in two days it was a page turner for me.
Cassandra Dallett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Old Shuteye on December 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
American Gangbang is an interesting, if uneven, memoir of a young intellectual's foray into porn. The book takes place during the early 2000s, a time that saw the peak of the classic L.A.-based adult studio system and its lucrative DVD distribution model. Online subscription sites, such as Blacks On Blondes and Bang Bus, were just emerging, and would soon dominate the market, killing any semblance that porno movies once had to real films. Benjamin's journey reflects the shifting times. He begins with inspired, amateur video production in San Jose, CA, and winds up shooting profitable yet vapid internet porn in Malibu. As such, the book is a classic coming of age tale, full of disillusionment, and feels somewhat familiar, despite its sensationalistic setting. Benjamin is honest throughout, and does a good job portraying and examining his sexual actions. Stylistically, the prose would have benefited from a good, harsh edit. The book reads quickly, but Benjamin is too fond of adverbs. Also, I would have preferred a bit more showing and bit less telling. American Gangbang is a memoir, and Benjamin did cut his teeth as the founder of and primary contributor to Jewish Cheerleaders, an early and innovative blog, so the confessional style is not surprising. Still, there are passages so steeped in blatant condemnation that the narrative suffers. I was left with a distinct moral aftertaste I didn't much like. I would have rather judged the author's experiences for myself. Those seeking lurid details of porno's inner workings will find their fair share, but the book itself is hardly pornographic. If anything, it is anti-pornographic. Benjamin is a talented young writer, and American Gangbang, while at times a freshman effort, is certainly worth reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a classic American situation: a guy graduates from college and goes far away from home to some section of the promised land to claim some part of the American dream. For Sam Benjamin, though he didn't realize it when he set out, the dream turned out to be pornography. It was dreamy for a while, and fun, and lucrative, and while it didn't last for him, it was educational. Readers can enjoy vicariously the lessons he picked up, without having to be physically present at any of the yucky stuff, in _American Gangbang: A Love Story_ (Gallery Books), a funny, lyrical, frank, and raunchy memoir. Benjamin is a gifted writer, with an ear for dialogue. Although he has plenty of self-deprecating humor, he doesn't let himself off the hook here; he did some dodgy, even reprehensible things during his porno days, but they are included in the story. People who like porn will enjoy reading a first-hand account about the facets of its production and will also enjoy a bit of titillation. Those who don't like porn will find arguments against it (but of course they won't read it). Either way, there is a high dose of entertainment here, and insights into a world that is hidden from most of us.

The book opens as Benjamin is newly graduated from Brown University in 1999, and he has but one goal, to move to California. After seeing a stash of old porn films, he envisioned himself directing such films, but his would be different. "I would pull off a _surprise_ - a sex film that had heart, one that had soul. I'd make a porno that was actually _good_..." He lucked into contacting the administrator of a website which specialized in interracial videos and charged users a monthly fee. Benjamin met plenty of professionals, like John E. Depth and Tony Eveready.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blaine E. Crowther on November 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Liberal, affluent, middle class white boy goes to Brown and then wants to do something deviant after graduation. He moves to L.A. and becomes a cameraman filming black on white hetero porn for the owner of an internet porn site. Unfortunately, he can't shake off his middle class morality so eventually sees everything he's doing as empty and exploitative and quits porn still mentally trapped in the symbolic world of middle class conventionality. The book ends with the author in Thailand undergoing deep colonics atoning for his imagined sins.

In a world devoid of redemption, I found his sense of guilt over his occupation quaint. The writing isn't bad although at times formulaic. The book really says more about the author and his value-system than about the people he filmed who remain props for his angst riddled ruminations.

That being said, I enjoyed reading it. The author writes honestly about his feelings. Although tt wasn't the best book I ever read, it wasn't the worst either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra Dallett on December 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard Sam Benjamin read a excerpt from American Gangbang recently at a poetry reading in San Francisco. I was thrilled first of all because I was scared to death that I was going to be the only one reading about sex and porn. He got on stage and read about the history of porn which, unlike most of the poetry read that night was funny and interesting. He talked about the cheasy soundtracks and boob jobs and the styles of each decade. I for one am fascinated to hear what people think about porn. It's everywhere, with internet and dvds everybody looks at it whether they admit to it or not. I am old enough not to have ever owned a VCR till I was in my twenties when a room mate of mine introduced me to a drawer of movies most of which I found really lame but after awhile I found my self taking them to my room and critiquing them, but also finding some stuff I liked. Since then I have really given some thought to this question of what people are into and how does it relate to us in our relationships. Like how was I supposed to feel when my boyfriend had old lady porn or rape porn on the computer? I mean how do you not wonder what they are thinking about when your having sex? The things I like to watch are less weird but still cause problems. This book touched on these things and I guess it's the first time I got to hear from a normal guy how he felt. How he was turned on by certain things, grossed out by others. How he felt about the girls doing these movies for money and how damaged they were before and after. The book is well written and flows along. I read the book in two days it was a page turner for me. I may not be normal but I love memoirs and read a lot of them. The thing I like most is that it hits on topics nobody is talking about and keeps you wanting.Read more ›
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