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American Voyeur: Dispatches From the Far Reaches of Modern Life Paperback – January 5, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Denizet-Lewis deftly combines journalism and sociology in these 16 articles originally published in such sources as New York Times Magazine, Spin, and Slate. Focusing on youth culture, sex, and sexual identity (often gay and lesbian), the thirtysomething reporter demonstrates a flair for what he calls “immersion journalism” or “wait(ing) around for people to be themselves.” In practice, this means patiently establishing an emotional rapport with people as disparate as homeless gay teens in San Francisco’s Castro District and prepubescent extreme-sport athletes who are fielding more commercial endorsements than they can count. The resulting reports are insightful, entertaining, and often thought provoking, especially those that most nearly approach sociology, e.g., the author’s investigation of the “Down Low” subculture (African American men living as heterosexuals while secretly having sex with other men), the lives of young gay married couples in Massachusetts, and contemporary teen dating habits and sexual practices. Whether his subjects are occasionally superficial or (more often) substantive, Denizet-Lewis himself is always an engaging and well-informed guide to some of the farther reaches of contemporary American culture. --Michael Cart

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"I expected reading American Voyeur to be a guilty pleasure, but Denizet-Lewis's compassion and involvement swept all the guilt away and left the pleasure!" -- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America

"Thank God for Benoit Denizet-Lewis's insatiable curiosity. It has resulted in a fascinating book. American Voyeur is about the big issues -- sex, identity, religion, death -- but is told through small, compelling corners of culture." -- A. J. Jacobs, author of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416539158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416539155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,762,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Christy L. Kean on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Denizet-Lewis drew me into his "immersion journalism" through his book America Anonymous. I was hooked from the word go. American Voyeur takes us on a journey where we'd be hard pressed to find ourselves welcome in. And perhaps, one we would fail to learn from because of our own judgments or prejudices. The writing style reminds me of oral narrators. I can see Mr. Denizet-Lewis sitting down and telling these stories. The character developments are intriguing and the tales themselves are heartbreaking and brilliant. My only suggestion? I'd love to see entire books devoted to these people. They are small glimpses that leave one wanting more.
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