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Kinsey: Sex the Measure of All Things Paperback – October 1, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

..". revises [the] revisionism and presents Kinsey in an altogether more favorable light ... a human and indefatigable sex educator, as well as an unfairly maligned martyr of American priggishness...."

..." revises [the] revisionism and presents Kinsey in an altogether more favorable light ... a human and indefatigable sex educator, as well as an unfairly maligned martyr of American priggishness...."

.."." revises [the] revisionism and presents Kinsey in an altogether more favorable light ... a human and indefatigable sex educator, as well as an unfairly maligned martyr of American priggishness....""

About the Author

Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy served as a consultant during the filming of the motion picture Kinsey. He is author of The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny and lives in England.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; First Paperback Edition, 2004 edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253217261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253217264
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gathorne-Hardy's biography is both meticulously researched and well written - and often entertaining, too. Gathorne-Hardy writes in an intimate way as though he's addressing you, the reader, personally. Far from being uncritical, he discusses Kinsey's shortcomings as both a person and scientist as well as Kinsey's genius as a researcher of often taboo subjects that few dared to consider, and also Kinsey as a compassionate social reformer. This is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand Dr. Kinsey and his work.
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Format: Paperback
I chose to read this book because I wanted a balanced account of Kinsey's life and science, unfortunately, this book does not satisfy the requirement. Where the Jones book turns Kinsey into a demon, Gathorne-Hardy seems to want to turn him into a god. Gathorne-Hardy has a well researched account of Kinsey's life and activities, however he constantly tries to justify Kinsey's methods and continually comments on how no one has been able to do better sex research since, a patently untrue and scientifically unsupported statement. It would be difficult to cover both the biographical research on Kinsey and do an indepth study of current sex research, and I don't believe that Gathorne-Hardy even tried to do much research into current sex literature, that is why it is irritating when he tries to justify most of Kinsey's ideas. Overall, if you want a book that details the activities of Kinsey's life, this is an acceptable book, but if you are interested in his science, it is woefully lacking.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where are you on the Kinsey scale? As a young woman, on a sleepover, did you ever give your girlfriend eyelash kisses all over her body? As a young boy, did you ever have a Platonic crush on a male friend? If you did, you might rate a 1 on the Kinsey scale which goes from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). Being a 0 or a 6 makes you somewhat abnormal or as Kinsey would say rare. You see, terms like normal and abnormal are moral terms and not scientific ones. Average and rare are the terms Kinsey would use.

This is a very sympathetic, balanced and humane biography of a man who had a huge effect on our understanding of human sexuality. I enjoyed reading this excellent book not only because it deals with my favorite subject, but also because it is well written.

It seems most of the reactions to Kinsey break out along ideological lines - the negative responses are mainly from conservative monotheists and surprisingly Freudian psychoanalysts because Kinsey thoroughly trashed the evidential basis of much of Freud's understanding of human sexuality.

The author begins where Kinsey's life begins and explores his early childhood and rearing as a conservative bible-believing Methodist up through his death as a 59 year old atheist bisexual researcher of human sexuality who had become the most notorious man in America and probably the world.

Although Kinsey engaged in homosexual sex later in life, the author points out that his one early love 'affair' as a young man was most likely purely Platonic. He pursues his development and mainly focuses on his research for his two main books on male and female sexuality.
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Format: Paperback
I can't say enough about this book. It has been 40 years since I read Kinsey's two books on sex and Pomeroy's adulatory biography.

The other reviewers here misread the impact of Kinsey's work. For over a thousand years, Christianity kept a whole continent on the verge of psychosis by demonizing not only sex but also the human body, children and women. It not forbade not only most varieties of sexual expression but also any discussion of them. Sex was the Great Secret, unspeakable, dark, problematic, and dangerous.

Kinsey's purpose was to use science to overturn the ancient Leviathan of sexual repression. "We should see what an animal does," Kinsey said, "before we make any judgments about its morality." His project took enormous strength, commitment, organizational talent, and courage. Sexual dissidents before Kinsey were beat up, locked up. burned at the stake, or driven into exile, madness or suicide.

Kinsey presented massive evidence that the variations in sexual practices so long condemned by the monotheistic religions were abundant throughout human and animal societies. In no sense could they be categorized as abnormal. He wrote in the Male volume that the sexual data on single males "is evidence of the ineffectiveness of social restrictions and of the imperativeness of the biological demands. For those who like the term, it is clear that there is a sexual drive which cannot be set aside for any large portion of the population, by any sort of social convention." The evidence showed that the only sexual abnormalities are celibacy, abstinence, and delayed marriage.

For that reason, the publication of his reports was one of the defining moments of the 20th century. It was the cause of celebration world-wide, like the end of a war. It changed everything.
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