75 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The vision of Weimar Berlin as a bastion of decadence in increasingly Nazi-fied Germany is perhaps due in large part to our familiarity with the musical "Cabaret" or with Isherwood's "Berlin Stories." But in fact, the available documentation for that vision has been pretty slim until recently.
Mel Gordon has spent years assembling the material he shares in this amazing book. Be warned; this is not a pleasant book to read. The images can be disturbing or downright upsetting, and the information therein is similarly unsettling. It is, however, an invaluable resource for any student of the period as it makes available material that has simply not been widely seen outside of Germany.
If you are as fascinated as I am with the period between the wars, this book is a must-have. It gives depth to the glossy, Hollywood version of Berlin decadence, and shows it to be born as much out of poverty and hopelessness as out of the free expression of sexuality/sensuality. And please do take quite seriously the warning: This book is NOT for the faint of heart.
36 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I suppose there is the inherent interest and entertainment of antique hardcore erotica for some people, which this book provides, but the things depicted (photographically) and described in this book may completely alter your view of the past.
I guess it is known that Berlin, prior to the rise of the nazis, was a decadant, burlesque place. But the variety and pervasiveness... and SEVERITY of this is not commonly known. In this book you will see gay nomadic boy scouts, theatrical spanking machines, nudist priests, gleefuly incestuous families (depicted in lifestyle journals for apparent mass consumption) and manuals of dentist chair molestation. It really is shocking - and all the more when you recognize these images as decisively in the past, and apparently NORMAL for this time period.
I used to look through this book whenever i went to this bookstore in 2000-2001, mostly browsing and skimming. It made a lasting impression and i have never been able to find similar information elsewhere. According to some of the reviews I've read, the author makes an unsubstantiated claim/conclusion that this period ended not because of social outrage or exhaustion, but because of particular economic and political circumstances. But for myself, foreign to this place and time (and culture), it completely changes my picture of germany, world war ii and modernity. Apparently there were sprawling nihilist fiends BEFORE mankind was confronted with the possability of nuclear annihilation.
I personally consider this a "coffee table book", albeit for S&M yuppies. It is way too flashy and consumable for research purposes. (I would hesitate to site it as a source for any paper.) However, as far as I can tell, it is one of the only accessable documentations of ...something I can't believe I've never heard of.
23 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This *is* the most comprehensive book about Weimar Berlin on the market. Full of never before seen pictures, illustrations, and information, this book is what any Deco era enthusiast needs. Mel Gordon's text is anything but dry, stuffy, or overly scholarly as these books can tend to be. No, instead, his enthusiasm and interests spill onto each page, with his tell-tale approach and overwhelming details about Pre-War Weimar Berlin's enigmatic history. If Neo-Weimar studies are your cup of tea, then this book is the "on the rocks", "straight up", cold hard shot of gin! I recommend the 5th Edition (2006 Version) hardback that includes the original 2 sections that are omitted in the first few before it. The replaced sections are wonderful and if you've seen the book before, you will be quick to notice that Gordon has added *more* pictures and has corrected the color on the illustrations and paintings. In short, Mr. Gordon's work is quite simply the *ONLY* work out there worth reading about this subject. Most shy away from the real debauchery of the era and underplay it's hedonistic proclivities, but Gordon lays it all out in this book with great panache. Gordon is a UC Berkeley professor, accomplished writer of several books, and former New York Actor's Studio alumni who can bring to life any lecture or essay with great ease. Gordon's writings and lectures are the most dead on and most effective out there on the subject. See him lecture, read his work, and keep tabs on this history agent provocateur; he is the future of our unique artistic and often risqué past. A treasure in researching circles and a great preservationist of a rich bygone era. - A Campa (of The Art Deco Society Of California)
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Dignity-schmignity. Who needed it in Weimar Berlin? I tell ya, got WAAYY more than I bargained for when I read this sourcebook by Mel Gordon. This is an ugly picture of the degraded depths of which human beings are capable; some in order to survive, and others who will pay to have their unchecked impulses indulged: "The very first thing foreigners noticed in Berlin were whores..." The sex workers had a simple motivation: "Only foodstuffs mattered." Desperation drove countless numbers of men, women, and children of all social levels into prostitution. Gordon lists 17 types of female prostitutes alone, including "gravelstones"-the deformed; "munzis"-pregnant women, and "medicine"-child prostitutes "12-16 who were 'prescribed' by pimps, posing as physicians." Indeed, there "seemed to be almost no bottom age for those seeking physical companionship with children. And virtually no end to willing girls and boys." And what about the superfreak sex tourists looking to have their most perverse desires fulfilled?-"These lurid Baedekers of the night were indispensable pilots for lost souls." Charlie Sheen is a Boy Scout next to them, and reading about the variety of weirdo "needs" that existed (and were, presumably, fulfilled), makes Cosmopolitan magazine's saucy "what-a-man-wants-in-bed" articles seem positively quaint: "...animal lovers, worshippers of obese Dominas, sadististic teachers, bare-hand flagellants, incestuous necklace fetishists (I don't even want to know what that is), urine-drinkers, bondage freaks, high-heel stompers, and s***-sniffers." There are people who had sexual fetishes for noses, ears, hands, legs, shoes and stocking, breasts, buttocks, hair, purses, music, clothes, underwear, beds, fabrics, and flowers. Reading about how the line between sex and violence got even thinner in the lustmord (sex murder) section was even more repulsive. It got to be too much for me. Don't get me wrong; I'm giving this book 5 stars for being well-written, dutifully researched, and richly illustrated. It's good history. And I'm sure it will be a valuable source for young artsy types looking for edgy fashion inspiration, cool band names (Kontroll-Girls, Sugar-Lickers), or just looking for an "epater le bougeois" attitude to adopt a la Madonna. Personally, I'll never read it again; to me it was ultimately crushingly depressing, and way too rich for my blood. I felt so soiled after reading this book that felt like taking a scalding bath spiked with Lysol.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Although the emphasis is on the open sexuality that prevailed in Berlin after the end of the Great War and before the Nazi takeover, this book is really about history. In 1914, Germany was a great power, with colonies spread out around the world and growing economically dominant in Europe. After the war, Germany was stripped of her colonies, forced to accept blame for starting the war, lost large sections (roughly 10%) of its European territory and forced to pay extensive reparations. The end result was an economic catastrophe of hyperinflation, where the currency depreciated so fast that people carried it in wheelbarrows when they went shopping. Millions of people were rendered destitute, having sold all of their possessions to survive during the war and then during the hyper-inflation. Therefore, many resorted to the only asset they had left, the use of their bodies for sexually related acts. It is easy for people that have not been in such a position to criticize the Germans for doing what they did, yet death by starvation was likely the only other option.
Gordon establishes this background before he describes what took place in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. Prostitutes of all types and genders, from the deformed to the pregnant to the mere child populated the city by the thousands; travelers with foreign currency could purchase whatever type of sex act they desired for little money. Gordon provides explanations of the events as well as a large number of images of people as well as reproductions of handbills, magazine covers, drawings, paintings and cartoons.
Despite all the fast living and apparent energy in Berlin of the era, one word describes the emotion of so many of the people, "despair." With so few options available, many simply decided that their lives were destined to be short, so they might as well live fast. At the time, the Germans were too civilized to quickly self-destruct and destroy others in the process, so they did so slowly, wasting away by prostituting themselves and their children. Even formerly bourgeois families offered their daughters for sexual activities in order to survive.
Attractive to voyeurs, this book tells the story of societal collapse and a struggle to survive until a false savior arrived. Gordon does an excellent job of explaining the wide range of ways people lived high and dark in the years of the Weimar Republic.