An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit, and Social Outcast

Larry Flynt, Author Dove Books $22.95 (265p) ISBN 978-0-7871-1143-4
The life of Larry Flynt should make for a great autobiography. But the manic glee, unabashed sleaze or righteous anger that could have energized the life story of the founder of Hustler magazine isn't here. Instead-perhaps because its publication will follow the release of a film (The People vs. Larry Flynt) focusing on Flynt's time in court-this mannered narrative, written with the help of Ross (Compassionate Capitalism), seems to strain toward respectability-even though Flynt admits he has spent most of his life on dope or drink. Flynt (b. 1942) left Appalachia for the Army at 15 and grew up fast, soon taking from his unfaithful wife the lesson never to be faithful to a woman again. He built an empire from go-go bars, then in 1974 established Hustler. He claims his magazine's notorious explicitness caters to the ""erotic imaginations of real people,"" and he somewhat pompously contends that the working out of his principles in print has protected press freedoms (a parodic Hustler ad lampooning Jerry Falwell was defended, ultimately, by the Supreme Court). Flynt's most tender moments here come when reflecting on his strong-willed, hell-raising, drug-addicted wife, Althea, who eventually died from AIDS. In 1978, while he was being prosecuted for obscenity, Flynt was shot by an unknown assailant, and lost the use of his legs; nonetheless, he says that he has found happiness despite a core of sadness. Maybe so, but-at least judging from this book-he seems to have lost his edge in the process. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 265 pages - 978-1-59777-576-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7871-1178-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-7475-3398-6
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!