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John Holmes, a Life Measured in Inches

3.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593933029
ISBN-10: 1593933029
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Frequently Bought Together

  • John Holmes, a Life Measured in Inches
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  • Porn King: The Autobiography of John C. Holmes
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  • The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes (5 Year Anniversary)
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Editorial Reviews


"Authors Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson separate legend from fact and piece together Holmes' strange and often tragic story. The result is an emotionally exhausting yet truly compelling real-life adventure." --Phil Hall, Film Threat 

"Whether or not, you were a fan of Mr. Wadd, you won't be able to put down this fascinating biography by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson." (March 2009 - Book of the Month) --Keith Valcourt, HUSTLER Magazine

"In addition, to some of the most detailed looks at more than 200 Holmes' video and loops, the two have written a remarkable piece of film history using oral histories of the participants to carry the narrative." --Bill Castanier, Lansing News

"Holmes' life is truly laid bare for the reader, with no details withheld about his marriages, his lovers, his movies, his involvement with the horrific so-called Wonderland Murders, his 1986 AIDS diagnosis and his death." --Marq, XX Factor

"Indeed Sugar and Nelson have taken a subject inherently problematic - the history and scholarship of the adult film - and rendered it lucidly accessible to all, whether fans of adult material or not and whether male or female." --Robert Cettl, widerscreenings.com

From the Author

The second expanded edition of this biography was published on October 31, 2011. It contains updated information and over 25 new photos, some never-before-seen.  For those of you who are new to the book, we encourage you to journey through the life and times of the world's most legendary icon in the history of erotic cinema: John Curtis Holmes -- Jennifer Sugar & Jill C. Nelson - October 31, 2011
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 584 pages
  • Publisher: BearManor Media (August 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593933029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593933029
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Dimmick on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Well, I finished reading "Inches" yesterday and want to say that this is a VERY good, in depth,well researched biography of John Holmes that takes the reader from Holmes's child hood in Pataskala Ohio to his death from AIDS in California 43 years later .

The amount of detail in the stories told by various people who knew him over the course of his life was very extensive with a lot more additional information on Holmes in front of the camera and also his private life, than any of the video documentaries on his life that I have seen over the past few years.

My own main thrust of interest about Holmes since I was a young 18 year old in Southern California when the WONDERLAND killings happened in 1981, has been this crime and also the double life that Holmes had led in the years previous to this. I have read just about everything pertaining to the WONDERLAND murders, and seen every documentary made, but there were many things in "Inches" that have never been included in previous projects on his life....MANY things.

One of the things that really does stand out in the book in my own opinion are the stories that Sean Amerson told. This guy really loved John a lot growing up and I think that while everyone missed him when he passed,Sean may have been the one who missed him most of all.

Great book Jennifer and Jill! If this could have been any better, I don't know how.
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I really enjoyed this book. The Holmes history of getting into the business, how the whole industry evolved and then his demise as one of the pioneers of moving on from the "glamorous" drug of powder cocaine to the seedy life of becoming a free-basing cocaine freak, the people he was involved with while supporting his habit and eventually the murders in one of LA's most gruesome crimes. I found the end of the book very disturbing for me when Holmes knowingly participated in several porn movies while knowing he was HIV positive and most likely already AIDS defined. What makes this even more disturbing not only the fact he exposed others to HIV but also how almost every person in this book portrays Holmes as someone very caring, sensitive, and would never hurt anyone, unprotected sex while knowingly being HIV positive, somehow i don't get caring and sensitive from that. I also found besides Holmes and maybe even more so then Holmes himself the most interesting person in the book was his wife, Sharon Holmes. What a dirt-bag she was, 19 plus years of marriage standing by her man while he drugged, diseased, robbed, conspired, lied, cheated, set up people to die,had sex with men, relationships with teenage girls and Sharon supported her man through it all!
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Format: Paperback
After having watched Boogie Nights and Wonderland I really wanted to read a biography about John Holmes and was disappointed that there wasn't one available. Then low and behold one appears on Amazon.com! I immediately picked it up and was extremely impressed.

It is written as an oral history so the authors weaved John's life story around long quotes from the people who actually knew John. I prefer that over those biographers who just make up all kinds of stuff about their subject and never say where they got the information from.

This book gives you John's complete story starting with his childhood and ending with his death of AIDS. It presents John in a fair light never descending into tabloid territory with its coverage of his many negative deeds but also not shying away from talking about them. After reading this bio I got the impression that John was a deeply flawed man but also had a very big heart. It gave me a much better idea of who John was than either movie.

The book also includes lots of rare photos of John along with some of the essential classics. It also has a very in-depth movie review section in case you feel like checking out some of his work after you read the book.

This book is perfect for any Holmes fan as it includes lots of new stories and is also the perfect (and only) place to start if you are just getting into the Holmes scene and want to find out the true story of The King.
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Format: Paperback
John Holmes; A Life Measured in Inches (2008) by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson is a compilation of quotes on various topics about the life and times of famed porn actor John C. Holmes. The quotes are from people who knew him and/or worked with him in the industry. This book was offered to me by author Jill C. Nelson after reading my review of Road Through Wonderland on my blog.

In contrast to Porn King and Road Through Wonderland, this book (nearly 600 pages in length), is a more comprehensive glimpse into the person, life and times of John Holmes. Rather than being the result of one person's view, it is a collection of stories and quotes from upwards of 46 people who reflect on this fringe icon.

As I've stated before in similar reviews, I will attempt to give this review without making judgement on the man or the industry. He had friends and family who loved him, and was a multifaceted human. He was nearly entirely different to those who experienced him during his extreme bout with addiction vs the periods of time when he was clean and sober. I would say that in reading this book, it was pretty easy to come up with a composite of who he was. Much of who he was, as experienced by those who knew and worked with him, has common threads. So it is fairly simple to come away with an overall picture.

John Holmes was a star in pornography. Due not only to his documented phallic size and sexual control but for his prolific collection of works. He is said to have starred in over 2250 films and loops during the 1970's and 1980's. He was implicated in the famed 1981 Wonderland Murders, and later died of AIDS. All of this is outlined in the book.
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