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Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America Paperback – February 28, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0226142647 ISBN-10: 0226142647 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (February 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226142647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226142647
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Estelle B. Freedman is the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in US History at Stanford University and the author of No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Cooke on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Intimate Matters provides a comprehensive analysis of the history of sexuality in America through an engaging and thoughtful narrative. It is useful for the professional historian--it is well documented with references to existing historical literature on the topic (although it is not original research). However, it also will prove very interesting to the casual reader.
The book itself provides a broad descriptive introduction to the history of sexuality and reproduction from the colonial era to the present, but also presents a clear argument that is easy to follow. The authors claim that sexuality in America has gone through three distinct phases, from family governed sexuality in the colonial era, to privatized but conservative sexuality in the nineteenth century, to our era of comparative sexual freedom, often governed by consumerist values, in the twentieth century. Beyond that, it is simply fun to read.
The book does use language that might be considered objectionable by some, but these words are quoted directly from contemporary historical sources. They help to give an honest impression of the way sexuality was discussed in the past. It is a very good book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adenil on October 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Many of the other reviewers are marking this book down for being "textbook-like," all the while forgetting it is a history book. It does precisely what it purports to do: regale us with the fascinating sexual history of the United States in great detail. It does not claim to be the next pop-hit or a coffee table book. This is a book for people who want to learn something, and that makes it wonderful.

Beginning just before the foundation of the colonies, this book walks us step-by-step through the history of sexuality in America. D'Emilio and Freedman provide direct primary quotes from the individuals who were experiencing the sexual norms in each time period. They also provide interesting and enlightening anecdotes, court cases, laws, and images which help us to better understand the history of sexuality in America.

This book will help you to better understand the origin of puritan thoughts on sex in America and beyond. It does exactly what it purports to do in the clear, concise prose of historians who know their stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Crockett on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title implies, this lays out a history of sexuality in the US, and I know of no better text if that's your topic of interest.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Havermann on December 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
D'Emilio and Freedman have provided their readers with a thoughtful, entertaining, and concise history of American sexuality. As their title suggests, their perspective is historical rather than psychological. Like most social histories, "Intimate Matters" adopts a bottom-up approach, choosing to emphasize how groups of people experience (and have experienced) sexuality within their own economic, racial, gendered, and cultural contexts, rather than on the decisions of elite policymakers.

There is plenty of interesting information here, ranging from the sexual practices of the early colonists to grassroots campaigns to censor sexually explicit literature. The authors capitalize on a wide variety of evidence, citing both quantitative and qualitative research to buttress their arguments. "Intimate Matters" is an important contribution to a neglected area of historical inquiry, and offers readers important insight into how economic and cultural forces shape, and are shaped by, human sexuality.
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By Amazon Customer on September 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic quality!! Speedy delivery!
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