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I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life Hardcover – September 12, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Screw magazine founder Goldstein chronicles his dramatic career in pornography in this occasionally compelling but more frequently repellent memoir. Driven by an unfocused rage-"I got up every morning to face my enemies. And I loved it"-Goldstein cut a wide swath in his rise to porn infamy, alienating readers, family members and friends with outrageous and inflammatory behavior before cannibalizing his sizable fortune and winding up in a homeless shelter for half a year. Unfortunately, Goldstein never quite gets around to discussing his crushing financial failure in much detail, focusing instead on gleeful stories of debauchery with porn stars like Linda Lovelace and interviews with the famous and notorious, ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Albert Speer, pulled from the pages of his magazine. He's more than candid, and certainly isn't out to make himself a hero; when gunmen enter his magazine's office, for example, Goldstein's thoughts first turn to his infant son, but then "turned to the more immediate matter of protecting the $2,500 Pulsar watch on my wrist." It's a recurring theme in the book-when given the opportunity to do the right thing, Goldstein instinctively thinks of himself first-making it hard to muster much sympathy. Though amusing and titillating, this memoir isn't much more than another stab at fame and fortune from a selfish, angry and intermittently funny man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A genuine survivor of the culture wars of the 1960s, Screw magazine publisher Goldstein comes clean in a rambling autobiography-cum-cultural manifesto. Goldstein, 69, hasn't had an easy life. Indeed, he was recently homeless for a year--a consequence of frittering away a not-insignificant pile of pelf amassed during his heyday, which wealth shouldn't be considered in the same breath with the fortune of that other notorious sex publisher, Hugh Hefner. Playboy was all about "tasteful" nudity and air-brushing, whereas Screw was all in-your-face, sweaty reality and in many ways a precursor of Larry Flynt's Hustler, which shoved porn into the mainstream along lines greased by Goldstein. Now on marriage number five, Goldstein works in Internet media, with sexually oriented Web sites and services. This book, written with former Screw associate Friedman, invokes familiar names from Jacob Javits to Mad publisher William M. Gaines as it summarizes and justifies a life lived on the cultural barricades. Details about genuine sixties characters, such as porn star John C. Holmes ("Johnny Wadd"), add fascination. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; 1 edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258681
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Bundrick on February 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Many years back I used to watch Al Goldstein's MIDNIGHT BLUE program on my local cable station. I loved his commentary about the adult movie scene and his scathing company reviews. When his Mercedes broke down and he received shoddy service, he retaliated by calling the Mercedes company a bunch of Nazi-supporters. When he felt an airline had wronged him, he retaliated by showing mid-air collisions. He gave out the home and office numbers of the chief executive of Time Warner, asking his viewers to call and express their outrage at the perceived censorship.

He was a strong supporter of free speech issues and a major proponent of the sexual revolution during the latter half of this century., His print publication SCREW, often featured interviews with a variety of entertainers, politicians and writers. You may not agree with his views on politics, marriage or adult movies but he was always open and honest with his audience. He spent, snorted, ate, and alimonied his way through various fortunes. Now broke (and until recently indigent), he is still unapologetic. He lives in an apartment on Staten Island, donated to him by the entertainer, Penn Jillette. Eating in soup kitchens, scrounging for money, and completely dependent on his health insurance to manage his many ills (diabetes, manic depression), he is still commenting on the times with vitriolic stamina. I admire the man and very much enjoyed this brave, wreckless, and very funny autobiography. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Among the most outrageous of our contemporary American outlaws, and among the funniest, is Al Goldstein, the co-founder and lightning rod for the infamous, gleefully tasteless semi-underground sex tabloid _Screw_, which he describes as "the most notorious, uproarious, and influential pornographic newspaper in the world". Through his publication (and through his cable television show "Midnight Blue") Goldstein chronicled any sort of sexual story, and maintained a forum for his famous editorials which were the prose equivalent of a raised middle finger to politicians, religious leaders, feminists, and to any lawyer, restaurateur, movie producer, or airline who happened to irritate him. ("Irritate him"? That's not the phrase Goldstein would use.) He became a multimillionaire, and a celebrity, and it was a wild ride through the 34 years of publishing his magazine. He descended, however, back to rags from riches as the lawsuits and divorces took their toll. He has now written (with Josh Alan Friedman) the autobiography _I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life_ (Thunder's Mouth Press), a foul-mouthed, absurd, ribald, and thoroughly entertaining account of an influential life that may truly be called unique.

Goldstein had trouble with girls when he was growing up: "My façade of amorality and detached sex has always been a cover for being afraid of being hurt. So what else is new. _Screw_ was such an antiromantic publication as compensation for that." He became a photojournalist like his father, and was working on a free press paper in New York when he met the straitlaced Catholic who would co-found _Screw_. The first issue came out in 1968, and by the time of Goldstein's first arrest, it was outselling _Time_ and _Playboy_ on Manhattan newsstands.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an easy-going, fast-paced book that can be read in one sitting, really. Naturally, Al was not a great writer (neither is his ghost), so this is not "art" literature, but at the same time, the worst criticism one can offer about this book is that it's a bit desultory. But so what? It's plenty good enough.

Most people live like drones, w/o leaving much spume in their wake. Not Al! He was a character, a Mr Turbulence. The book is reasonably all-encompassing, honest, and idiosyncratic. Beside other things, it is a snapshot of historical period. There's a goodly helping of photos, going back to his youth and from then, going to almost today. The book is also quite easy, so what doubt can there be? It's a worthwile read.

And while you're at it, don't forget to check out "Midnight Blue" on Netflix -- they have a nice collection of episodes, some of them silly and vulgar, but most of them quite curious and instructive, even inspiring at times. The dude's life, full of dramatic extremes from almost slapstick comedy to Shakespearean drama, is worth knowing.

PS. Btw., in case you don't know: Al Goldstein passed away on December 19 2013. He was 77 at the time of his death. He died of renal failure, at a hospice in NYC.

PPS. Did someone resurrect Screw? I think I saw a new copy at a bookstore. The looks appear "stylized" after the original, though far less squalid.
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Format: Paperback
Al Goldstein is a blowhard; a loqautious, compulsive chatterbox who can't get enough vulgarity and lives to scare people by saying something disgusting. He published Screw Magazine for 30 years and had a cheap cable show called "Midnight Blue" where he featured vulgar guests (but not sick ones like Jerry Springer) and complained about everything he could. Goldstein was god-like to his fan base.

But now, Goldstein is at the bottom. His magazine is gone, his money is gone, he lives in a subsidized apartment, his once massive body is now deflated (thanks to gastric bypass) and his voice is weak. He's now a frail old man that nobody wants to see or hear.

MY SCREWED LIFE is not so much an autobiography but a series of anecdotes about his life (or at least his vulgar musings about his life). But he won't say how he lost all his money. Therefore, I've figured it out; he made a pile of money, but he was also a shopaholic. He was narried five times and wound up paying alimony to those five wives. In the 1990's, his magazine revenue dropped thanks to the internet. He continued over-spending, and probably took out loans against his property. Eventually, he had no money left and his houses were repossessed.

Goldstein pissed off a lot of people, but he does keep the memory of old Times Square alive. In some ways he's a relic of what New York used to be.
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