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The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


Written with an expansive grasp of the highlights of pornographic history and a mastery of narrative argument … a fascinating view of the changing popular culture surrounding American life. —J. Edward Sumerau, Metro Spirit

"[Not] a finger-waving anti-porn diatribe … [the authors approach] the material with a particularly clearheaded sociological gaze." —Jer Fairall, PopMatters

"I'm thrilled with this book. . . . Comprehensive and thought-provoking, this is a must-read if you want to understand porn and our culture." —Al Goldstein, founder and former publisher of Screw magazine

"Whether it's the sexualization of girls, a pimp lifestyle, or Abu Ghraib, there's no dismissing the influence of pornography on our sensibilities, desires, and fantasies. . . . [A] brave, nuanced book that tells a story we don't want to know but can't, for the life of us, ignore." —Lyn Mikel Brown, coauthor of Packaging Girlhood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Carmine Sarracino, the author of three books of poetry, is a professor of English at Elizabethtown College, while Kevin M. Scott directs the college's English education program. They both live in Pennsylvania with their wives and children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807061530
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,408,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By William F. Aicher on May 12, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be honest, this book really acts much more as a history lesson of porn in our culture. Very little of the book is spent examining the state of porn today and how it affects our culture - so the "Where We Go from Here" portion of the title is a bit misleading.

Overall an interesting, if somewhat disheartening read (on the social level). It neither defends nor attacks porn, which leads it to read quite well factually... but also seems to try too hard to not take a side that it doesn't give any sort of sense of urgency or importance.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J Charles on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Fascinating, and very readable without losing the critical, scholarly element. Great introduction to the topic, with just enough details and just enough broadness to leave a reader informed and, perhaps, ready to dive into more specific research. Provides a broad and interesting history of the "porning" of America, and most intriguingly, is able to pull that off without attaching any particular negative or positive connotation to the word "porning." The authors are refreshingly honest about their difficulty in deciding what is either good or bad about porn, and in deciding "where we," as a society, "go from here."

Covers: historical relationship between war and pornography, Civil war -- Iraq; the puritan sex-shame that much pornography still fuels off; sexualization of children, men, women, and the elderly; Feminism and pornography; detailed history of pornography from 70's till 2007 (ish).

Great balance of clear, concise, and sharp writing with solid facts and hardly a paragraph of wasted words. This book was well organized and coherently progressive from end to end.

If you are looking for a particularly bold assertion about whether porn is "good or bad," or, if you are looking for any detail about homosexuals and pornography, this is probably NOT your ideal book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ... on July 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With exception to the final chapter the book is clearly written by heterosexual men! The primary group holding the least amount of discriminatory history in the area of sexuality. To speak of how women and gay men feel about things without citing actual women and gay men is ridiculous. Not to mention the lack of cited work (They mention a Susan Sontag text but do not cite it or even give a name!). The APA case studies are constantly used and when it comes to sexuality and if you have read other texts you would know that Psychology is sometimes behind on the times, still listing transgendered as a disorder and only recently removing homosexuality. True this book came out in 2008, but it already seems like a historical text then what we should do. This book reads as two men trying to protect their children (primarily their girls) from what the world really is. Yes they make some good points about BRATZ dolls and such but these things should be rite in front of our faces. As for shunning hardcore bondage porn.... shame on them!!! If they actually opened some good psychology texts they would know that bondage play is healthy for some people and that fantasy including rape fantasy is a normal function and these pornographic images help in these processes. Basically I am saying that this is a point of view, one that to me seems outdated, verging on sexist and homophobic at times. Do not tell me how a group of individuals feels you can not group all women or all gay men into something and claim thats how they all feel, especially when they aren neither female or gay. I have a degree in psychology, who has read many texts on "porning" and there are way better texts to be read then this one. Look for something else, preferably more specific to what you re looking to learn. This text is very broad making it vague and does not explain itself. If you are looking for a broad overview look for one that markets itself as such.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. McOuat on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
As I read this book, I envisioned Sarracino and Scott, the authors, as being popular among the students on their respective college campuses because they teach a class on porn. Students are abuzz that these two aloof academics discuss Madonna and Snoop Doggy Dog! This book seems to be their effort to build a capacity beyond the ivory tower to reach an audience that isn't paying tuition. To do so, they set out from the beginning of the book to aggrandize porn as modern sexual revolution. The authors glamorize the rise of porn and its ubiquity in our culture. I agree that porn has become normalized in America. But that's not enough to write a book about. The authors further want to insinuate that porn is the root of evil in our society. They connect the dots between porn and assault, rape and humiliation. The authors want to point out that porn is the factor that exasperates the ills of humanity. However, I think they have the arrow of causation going the wrong way. I think it goes the opposite direction. The ills of humanity have always been there, but social breakdown (increased isolation, increased narcissism) is the problem. The "porning" that Sarracino and Scott describe is really just about convenience. The rise of pornography is just the symptom. Internet and other media advanced have simply permitted some individuals sitting alone in their house to see their dark, ugly disgusting fantasies come to life in the privacy of their own home.

Sarracino and Scott have lumped all disgusting fantasies that humans (generally men) have as `porn' without looking at underlying problems in human psychology and sociology. When philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists talk about human nature, they needed to address the potential that all humans have for acting badly.
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