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Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History Paperback – April 5, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415929423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415929424
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A whirlwind tour of the sexual revolution in America, Make Love, Not War grew from the author's fascination with a bygone period of rebellion and experimentation whose effects linger throughout the culture. Born in 1969, David Allyn remembers "growing up with the vague sense of having missed something magical and mysterious. I remember the adolescent's agony of realizing that my parents and teachers had witnessed extraordinary social transformations, the likes of which we might never see again." Allyn's zest for his subject, and his dewy-eyed admiration of the sexual pioneers of the '60s and '70s, make him a pleasure to read, although the topic may be too large for a book of this size. There is little space to put subjects like public nudity, the demise of censorship, and the challenge to miscegenation laws into historical context. The author's more detailed discussions fare better, and he offers engaging new source material--in many cases from his own interviews--on open marriage, the joys of the Pill, gay liberation, and the sexual double standard. Although an advocate for sexual freedom, Allyn notes the paradox that "perhaps, in the end, shining the light of liberation into every dark corner of daily life has made it more difficult to indulge in some sexual pleasures spontaneously and unself-consciously." We may now feel an urge to define ourselves sexually at a young age, he argues, missing out on the thrill of the forbidden, and the chance to just fool around. --Regina Marler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Successfully treading the fine line between a serious chronicle and sensationalism in his account of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s in the U.S., Princeton historian Allyn mixes a smooth narrative of events (e.g., the legalization of birth control, abortion and interracial marriage), the famous (Hugh Hefner, Masters and Johnson) and not so famous (Jeff Poland of the Sexual Freedom League), with occasional analytic excursions into dramatic changes in society and individual lives. The book ranges widely, from Helen Gurley Brown's packaging of sexual liberalism in Sex and the Single Girl to novels promoting sexual utopias (i.e., The Harrad Experiment), the decline of the college policy of in loco parentis, the uses of sexual liberation by suburban swingers and political radicals like the Weathermen, and the commercialization of sex. Based on interviews with participants in these activities (including such figures as Barney Rosset, Rita Mae Brown and Andrea Dworkin, as well as ordinary people), and materials from the period, Allyn ascribes full credit to feminism and gay liberation for social changes that touched almost all Americans. Readers who lived through these heady events will appreciate his fresh perspective, while those of his generation (he was born in 1969) may be amazed to learn, for example, that birth control was illegal in many states as late as 1965. Allyn's broad sweep occasionally gives short shrift to historical background in areas like birth control or obscenity in literature. And he falters badly in his final chapter, virtually ignoring the feminist defense of sexual freedom and putting too much emphasis on the coalition of antipornography feminists and the religious right in his recounting of the decline of sexual liberation. Overall, though, Allyn's work is as exuberant and expansive as the movement he observes. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Roger Allen on December 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The sexual revolution of the 1960's and 1970's is an important subject about which almost no documentation or analysis remains. David Allyn's Harvard U. Ph.D. dissertation, repackaged in this book, MAKE LOVE NOT WAR: The Sexual Revolution, An Unfettered History (2000), is one of the very few books about that subject currently in print. Mr. Allyn has not done a high quality job in treating his subject, but the fact he chose it at all at least keeps the subject alive and in public view, and may cause some future researcher/writer to pick up David Allyn's dropped baton and continue the race a further distance, hopefully with better results. Allyn's MAKE LOVE NOT WAR book is like Samuel Johnson's famous dog reported walking unassisted on its hind legs....never mind that it was not done skillfully....we should be grateful it was done at all.
MAKE LOVE NOT WAR (2000) is almost completely a compendium of popular, mass press and periodical feature story and news coverage of sexual theme material which appeared during the 1960's and 1970's. The mentality of most material reported is almost all airheaded, intentionally salacious stuff (as indeed is the final phrase of the book's subtitle..."An Unfettered History"). Hugh Hefner's "Playboy Philosophy" reflects this mentality best and exemplifies it importantly, and it is no accident author Allyn zeroes in on the phenomena of Hefner, Playboy Magazine and its imitators, and similar slick stuff of those times which appeared.
Hugh Hefner's opinion of the sexual revolution and its signifigance is not the stuff of which important scholarship and social and philosophical insight should be based, regardless of how profitable his magazine was in the 60's and 70's and still is.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JOHN WILCHA on March 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Allyn's book made me look at the sixties in a whole new light. He's young, he was born in '69, but I think that gives him the ability to write about the sexual revolution and all that happened in the sixties with an objective persepctive. He argues that the sexual revolution taught people to speak how to speak about sex but not how to listen. He also shows how we're still as ambivalent about sex as we ever were. I think those are important points. And the book is a great read! He doesn't just focus on famous people like Hugh Hefner (though he did interiew him). Allyn writes about "average" people who were challenging middle-class sexual morality in their own ways. He has an interview with one guy who formed a Catholic group sex commune. You don't hear those stories in the typical sixties retrospectives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marie Roughan on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Graduating from high school in 1967 put me in the midst of the sexual revolution, but being a product of fifties parents and working my way through college, I never got caught up in it despite attending San Jose State, a campus housing a Black Panther Society. How did I miss the fact that The Weathermen and the SDS had at their cord (along with "over-throwing the U.S. government and anniliating the sexual tradition of monogamy) the ideology of Make Love Not War? Allyn has written a book so jam packed with information on the "sexual revolution," a chronological as well as psychological time line of events that has gotten us, believe it or not, closer to the dreamed of equality for men and women of all sexual orientations. It is a must read. I plan to read it again. Now if we, the children of this era, could just work on the "Not War" part.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L33tminion on March 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Was the sexual revolution a confluence of forces producing a shift in society (like the industrial) or an organized, ideological effort to overthrow the existing order (like the French)? A little of both, and this book takes a look at both the radicals and those swept along by social, cultural, and technological change.

A broad, fast-paced, and fascinating overview of an often neglected part of United States history. Provides plenty of food for thought for students of history or the would-be revolutionaries of more recent generations.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on June 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Because the 60's sexual revolution has been analyzed to death, this book may not initally seem like it covers new ground. but it presents the classic topic in a refreshing and balanced perspective.
Irrespective of the reader's own personal judgement, Allyn contends the sexual revolution was not solely one large orgy. but the creative work of many different movers and shakers that allowed us to enter into a dialog on the meaning and worth of sex outside childbearing. His history of the sexual revolution differs from earlier works such as Playboy's own (largely self-indulgent volume) because it readily gives credit where it is due to women and non-heterosexuals.
While the sexual revolution was supposed to be for the benefit of everybody in young America, the continued difficulty of securing contraception, the illegality of abortion, and loco parentis policies in Colleges made the concept an intially hollow promise for many women. Others, working in the new left quickly discovered they were expected to be little more than a Housewife/Sex object with an armband and picket sign to their male counterparts. Sexism was so pervasive the doublestandard was just repackaged in psychedelic garb.
The author points out it was feminists and gay liberationists who challenged narrow defintions of sexuality and brought the sexual revolution closest to accheiving it's utopian vision.
Because most other conventional histories of the 60's ignore or marginalize the contributions of these groups, this book should be required reading as part of a college course on the 1960's. Far from being monolithic, the sexual revolution had many unsung leaders, and we could not have the discussions on safe sex today were it not for these pioneers.
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