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Taming Lust: Crimes Against Nature in the Early Republic (Early American Studies) Hardcover – January 17, 2014
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"Impeccably researched, vividly narrated, and persuasively argued, Taming Lust opens up a compelling prospect of a society in crisis, at once attracted and repelled by the seductions of a modern, cosmopolitan world fast advancing all over the new American republic. The conflict between old and new ways briefly erupted in the two fascinating cases at the heart of this immensely readable book, when judicial authorities took the rare step of prosecuting ancient men on the margins of their communities for a capital offense that had not occupied the courts since the last days of Puritan rule."—Robert A. Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World
"A valuable contribution to the histories of both sexuality and the early republic."—Law and History Review
"Taming Lust performs a remarkable double feat of historical reconstruction. On the one hand, it uncovers the tangled roots of a pair of highly anomalous trials for bestiality in late eighteenth-century New England. On the other, it unfolds a broad panorama of the social, political, and sexual culture of an entire era. These paired objectives inform a writing that is strongly constructed, elegantly expressed, and larded with fascinating detail."—John Demos, author of The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic
"Taming Lust expands our knowledge of a little-known facet of the history of sexuality—the extensive record of human-animal intercourse—and makes an intriguing contribution to an emerging thesis that the revolutionary era unleashed a sexual revolution that both seduced and terrified those who lived through it."—Journal of American History
"Strange sexual perversities can provide a window into basic values of ordinary people at a particular time and place. Taming Lust does just that, offering a perceptive peek at New England near the end of the eighteenth century, and doing so in prose that almost sings."—Joseph J. Ellis, author of Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence
About the Author
Doron S. Ben-Atar is Professor of History at Fordham University and author of Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power. Richard D. Brown is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Connecticut and coauthor of The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America.