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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807061530
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 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: #2,491,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 the Paperback edition.

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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Customer Reviews

Answer: very little.
the prof
Porn that doesn't celebrate domination of men over women but recognizes everyone's sexual joy is actually good.
Kenny Glass
They were not enough to justify the book's overall lack of balanced rhetoric.

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 4 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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By the prof on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Like much cultural criticism, this makes more of a thing than is merited: for many centuries, porn was a minor element in the pantheon of sex attractions. but Scott and Sarracino take something they no doubt enjoy and turn it into something it is not: a national obsession, a national movement.

The question is: what will this book add to the future knowledge of us and our times? Answer: very little.

The test of good writing and scholarship is whether or not it adds something which will withstand the test of time and -- because their writing is cutsie and timely . But timeliness is not scholarly value. Cutsie is not scholarly gravitas.

So: buy the book. put it on your self. Forget about it. Let it collect dust, as well it should.

Morality, unity, virtue, much more interesting in the long run!
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By Timo K. on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Well I don't even know where to start. Being a student myself on the topic and having read loads and loads of literature especially BDSM and BDSM pornography I am appaled what these so-called scholars have produced here. Linking BDSM porn (btw BDSM has ben redeemed from pathologization in the 1990s!!!) to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, Child porn, non SSC rape porn etc. is an outrage in my opinion. Alone the introduction reads like a puritanical outcrie of worried parents that are just to afraid (or lazy) to educate their children about sex. "sitting with my child in front of the computer shopping for toys and all the pop-ups..." or typing some tagwords in Google search and thereby linking all kinds of porn together as "cultural toxic waste" doesn't only show a total lack of technical understanding but a form of ignorance that shouldn't be found in scholarly circles. If carefully read the book is full of judgmental formulations: " It is difficult, however, to delve into the subindustry of violent porn without comming away disturbed." Well wouldn't Krafft-Ebbing be proud of them pathologizing BDSM porn! "Given the presence of porn in their lives, it seems likely the guards perpetrated abuse at Abu Ghraib deliberately imitated the violent porn that now thrives on the internet." Well aint that objective! Monkey see, monkey do? "it seems likely" qed. What about the community building or educational aspects of porn for marginalized legitimate sexualities? Eleanor wilkinson 'extreme pornography' and the contested space of citizennsghip deals with this topic in a non-judgemental fashion.

Porn is a big factor in our everyday live. Agreed. But there is still no need for bashing marginalized sexualities.
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