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Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany Paperback – February 11, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0691130392 ISBN-10: 0691130396

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691130396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691130392
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this history of the sexual laws, beliefs and practices before, during and after the Nazi regime, Herzog, an associate professor at Michigan State University, proves yet again that the personal is the political. Contraceptive techniques, the treatment of sexual minorities, the prevalence of pornography, how people talked-or didn't-about sexual practices all come under Herzog's examination as she argues that if we set sexual practices aside as "irrelevant, we lose the opportunities to comprehend the extraordinary appeal of Nazism both to those Germans who sought the restoration of conservative family values and to those who benefited from Nazism's loosening of conventional mores." Herzog begins by pointing out that, while popular accounts often portray Nazi Germany as sexually repressive, the reality was much more complicated. Most Germans, she explains, were actually urged to "seek and experience sexual pleasure" since the conception of healthy, heterosexual Aryans was high on the list of Nazi priorities. Yet, at the same time, "sexual demonization was a pervasive feature of antisemitism," and the Nazis often portrayed Jews as carnal, bestial creatures while equating Christians with purity and spirituality. And Nazism continues to leave its mark on German sexuality today, Herzog argues as she guides readers through the collapse of communism and the rebellions of the 1960s all the way to the present. Though perhaps too dense for most lay readers, Herzog's book succeeds elegantly as both a scholarly history of sexual morality in Germany and an examination of the way this history is so often distorted in the present day.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Honorable Mention for the 2005 Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Award

"Herzog's book succeeds elegantly as both a scholarly history of sexual morality in Germany and an examination of the way this history is so often distorted in the present day."--Publishers Weekly

"Forcefully argued and elegantly written. . . . Herzog's passionate insistence on the centrality of sexuality as an explanatory category and on the uncomfortably tight link between pleasure and evil provides fresh and bold insight into two of modern German history's most confounding questions: how National Socialism established and maintained its 'extraordinary appeal' and, conversely, how postwar Germans managed to morph so quickly into peaceful stability."--Atina Grossmann, American Historical Review

"Sex after Fascism is one of the best books of the past twenty years on the history of sexuality, and certainly the best book on this particular subject."--Thomas Laqueur, BookForum

"Dagmar Herzog's source-rich and solidly researched analysis surprises and challenges; it convinces over and over again through an unpretentious presentation of forgotten facts and connections. With nuance and yet also with clarity, the American historian shows how human beings who talk about sex are always also talking about other things entirely--and thereby revealing much about themselves."--Urs Rauber, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

"An always provocative and fascinating account of 20th-century German social, political, and cultural history. . . . Herzog provides valuable insights for an understanding of the historical contretemps and conundrums of 20th century Europe."--Jane Slaughter, Labour/Le Travail

"In this forcefully argued and elegantly written book, Dagmar Herzog delivers a truly provocative--in the best sense of thought-and-debate provoking--reconsideration of ruptures and continuities across the three regimes of National Socialism, state socialism, and democratic capitalism 'through the lens' of sexual discourses and practices."--Atina Grossmann, Europe: Early Modern and Modern

"Sex after Fascism is an original contribution. . . . Dagmar Herzog analyzes shifting attitudes towards two seemingly separate strands of cultural expression: sexual morality and discourse on memory. . . . Fascinating and stimulating reading."--Björn Krondorfer, German Studies Review

"[A] brilliant, deeply researched and beautifully written book. . . . Sex After Fascism is one of the best books of the past twenty years on the history of sexuality, and certainly the best book on this particular subject. But it is also a book for anyone who wants to figure out why homophobia, antifeminism, and a passionate opposition to abortion and premarital sex have become the emotional core of right-wing politics in the United States."--Thomas Laqueur, Artforum International

"This study is highly original, deeply researched, and lucidly written, providing pioneering work on the history of sexuality in twentieth-century Germany and challenging and reshaping the extensive scholarship on memory and the Holocaust."--Mary Nolan, The Historian

"It is hard to imagine a more brilliant, original, and passionate reading of German discourses of sex and fascism, from the 1930s to the present, than this work offers. As scholars dig deeper, they may revise some of Herzog's conclusions. But they will have come to the task in large part because Herzog has so profoundly challenged our thinking on the history of sexuality, Nazism, and its aftermath."--Elizabeth Heineman, Journal of Modern History

"This is a conceptually 'big,' enormously ambitious, and stimulating book, one that tackles head-on a whole range of complex, interesting, and important questions and offers a wealth of convincing and exciting insights. Herzog's discussion of the sexual politics . . . is superb. All in all, whether historians agree or disagree with particular aspects of Herzog's account, the book is a bold contribution, one that will be fruitful not only because it offers readers important and original insights, but also because it will generate important questions."--Edward Ross Dickenson, Central European History

"Dagmar Herzog's study is a magisterial account. . . . Well researched, solidly reasoned, and drawing on a great wealth of resources ranging from low-brow magazines to highly theoretical treatises, it will establish itself as a standard reference work for the study of German civilization and its (post-)modern (dis-)contents."--Frederick A. Lubich, Monatshefte

"[Dagmar Herzog] has succeeded in producing one of the most thought provoking and erudite booles that the field has seen in recent years. Her arguments are impressively grounded in a thorough contextual familiarity with the whole of the twentieth century in Germany. . . . Dagmar Herzog challenges us to think afresh about topics that have sometimes been taboo yet have a crucial bearing on the march of history."--Geoffrey J. Giles, Journal of the History of Sexuality

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on June 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an academic book about the effect of National Socialism on the sexuality of Germans throughout the mid-20th century. It takes as a starting point widely held beliefs (such as the repressive nature of Nat. Soc. on sexuality) and cliches of popular entertainment (such as the Nazi-BDSM connection), and it attempts to explain their origins by giving a thorough account of the actual perspectives and lived experiences of people from the Weimar era to after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

To summarize, during Weimar, there was a general loosening of restrictions that resulted in increased skin in publications, etc., and the Communists and Socialists of the time promoted sexual liberation by setting up the period equivalents to our Planned Parenthood. Because of the connections of Weimar sexuality with business and Communism, Nazis allied with traditional conservatives (e.g., Catholics) and promised to turn back the clock on the sexual revolution during their rise to power. However, once in power, with both practical and ideological justifications and motivations, Nazis used youth groups and publications such as the SS magazine Das Schwarz Korps to promote pre- and extra-marital sex and sexual "fun" in general.

After the defeat of Germany in WWII, there was a general cultural nihilism that led to even further "liberalization" with the lines between dating and prostitution blurred, etc., and extensive fraternization with the Allied Occupiers on the part of women. This lasted until the early-to-mid-1950's when there was a sudden reversal. The medical and publishing industries starting promoting what we think of today as the "traditional nuclear family with a male head.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marty Klein on April 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is well-written, engaging, and it features fantastic photos.
It also presents an innovative, challenging view of a historical period that we all think we know enough about. Using original source material and amazing access to previously unavailable documents and interviews, Dr. Herzog shows that sexuality was a profoundly important feature of public policy for the Nazis--as well as for their Weimar predecessors and for the Communist government that followed WW II.
Intriguingly, sexuality was important in ways that are different than we all thought.
This book will fascinate lay readers as well as professionals.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JB on July 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was good, but I don't remember much of it. I had to get it for a class in college. The class I got this book for was a great class though, and the books the professor assigned were great, and this is one of them. I just don't remember the book in detail.
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