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Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin Paperback – 25 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: FERAL HOUSE; URBAN edition (25 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922915962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915965
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Weimar was anything but harmless. The book centres upon Berlin and provides details of a sexual explosion rom 1927 until 1932 brimming with pictures. It is not an academic book, but also contains considerable insights. The book engages with the changing sexual identities as men and women confronted an abandonment into a sexual abyss where anything, compared to previous decades and eras, went.

So transvestitism, homo-sexuality, lesbianism S&M and no doubt child abuse as another adjunct, exploded into public view and consciousness rather than existing behind closed doors. Prostitution a by product of World War One became a component of Ku Damm and Friedrichstrasse. Gay men and women all vied in disparate areas for clients who were mainly the wealthy. All the antithesis of the austere world formulated by Frederick the Great who wanted his troops to emulate the spartan warriors.

The book brings together the Expressionists along with Dix and Grosz into view along with various adverts and people in various states of undress to focus upon the debauchery which could be had, just before the Nazi coup d'etat when it all closed down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought Voluptuous Panic while writing an essay on cabaret and dance in the Weimar Republic. It's style, much like the subject matter is unconventional and utterly fascinating. This is a book full of intrigue and less usual reference that prompted new lines of enquiry and connections to develop within my research. Well produced full of great visuals. Having completed my essay and studies on Weimar Culture I could easily be tempted to part my copy of VP but I'll definitely keep in for reference and conversation. Mel Gordon is clearly a good author to look out for.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Vink on 27 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating book, though I just wish he had given references to all the information he packs in. And there is no index, which to my mind, is quite unforgiveable. The bibliography, too, is really quite small. All in all, hardly an "academic" book.
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12 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Edna Sweetlove on 26 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
Badly written. So many better options. The stupid Americanised journalistic title gives it all away. If desperate, read Christopher Isherwood.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
An amazing record of a time and place 16 Dec. 2000
By Tracy Rowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Verboten. NOT! 1 Jan. 2013
By D.J. Stroud - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Weimar Berlin Is *ALIVE* and Electric! 26 July 2006
By Rockstarbunny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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)
39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
a horrifying and unprecedented view of pre-nazi berlin 18 Mar. 2007
By jefferson metcalf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Must See to Believe! 2 Dec. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exquisite. The author proffers an intricate and vivid portrait of the sexual culture, customs, morals and mores of Weimar Berlin. Contains concise yet detailed passages on all aspects of inter-guerre sexuality, from fetishes to prostitution to sex crimes. The vintage images are superb -- they will appeal to the voyeur, the historian, and the Bacchus in everyone.
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