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Upstairs Girls: Prostitution in the American West Paperback – September 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I wouldn't cast the book completely aside and actually did recommend it to a few of my friends. I learned a lot and found it to be an interesting read - but that was only after I got past the writing.
A good study of life from all angles.
Highly recommend read.
In terms of tone, Rutter failed these women like all the historians and newspaper men before him. He defines the daughters of joy by their role in the flesh trade, exploring their business dealings, their notable lovers and the memoirs of their clients rather than the women themselves. I can't explain the oversight, but I was disappointed by the superficial portrait Rutter painted of the Wild West's soiled doves.
Rutter touched on several business concerns, but omitted any information about children born in the red light district. Rutter mentions pregnancy alongside other occupational hazards, but ends the section before examining what happened to girls who carried children to term which is how I find myself here, still wondering what happened in such circumstance and why in heavens name didn't the author think to include such a detail?
I found the text itself repetitive and disjointed, but also biased. Rutter places significantly more emphasis on the high-end girls than those who worked the streets on their own, but even then, he tends to highlight their clients above the women who serviced their interests and I personally found the imbalance deeply disappointing.
Not horrid, but not at all what I expected. Interesting, but I don't think Upstairs Girls comes close to telling the entire story.
I understand that the current politically correct way of thinking is to show how horrible the lives of prostitutes was back then (and now)- but the reality is that many prostitutes actually chose this profession because they did not want to live out their lives in dreary circumstances as teachers or seamstresses or whatever else women could do back then.
Life was hard for everyone- including the men who came out west to seek their fortune and ended up lonely and physically beaten down by years of working in the mines for someone else- without family or friends. Prostitutes were their only source of companionship- outside of their comrades in the mines. Men could be killed in a bar fight or in a mine collapse- and yet they still came out west- year after year. We do not view those men as being 'poor victims of exploitation' but rather as courageous men who fought the elements and braved the hazards of mining to eke out a living.
Prostitutes were no less courageous in coming out west to seek their fortune... and while some were forced into prostitution, others were forced into loveless marriages in which they had no rights, no property and no future. Life was not easy for any woman- regardless of what she did back then, particularly if she ventured beyond the civilized cities of the east.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read. Had information and tidbits that kept e interested. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lisa green
This is a very good historic account that tells us the dark and ugly side of this oldest profession. It really adds to my knowledge of life in the old West.Published 2 months ago by Gabrielle Eden
Book in good condition. Stories were a little bland like a text book.Published 8 months ago by Jodi Pruett
loved this, very well written and informative. I don't read very much but this book kept me wanting to read more about what happened in the old west. Read morePublished 9 months ago by brenda watters