Ladies of the Night: A Historical and Personal Perspective on the Oldest Profession in the World

Gene Simmons, Author with Julie McCarron. Simmons Books & Phoenix Books $39.95 (169p) ISBN 978-1-59777-501-4

Simmons, the fire-breathing leader of rock icon Kiss—who once bragged that he had bedded more than a thousand women—delivers an entertaining if sometimes simplistic short overview of prostitution. Simmons (Kiss and Make-up ) manages to work into his narrative both the Greek philosopher Diogenes and Nevada's Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel. Other than the occasional sex joke, Simmons is serious about giving his subject its historical due, stating upfront, “I am not here to judge women's personal choices or how they choose to empower themselves.” The book doesn't cover what Simmons admits is “the dark side of prostitution,” focusing primarily on one of his favorite issues: money. Since “throughout history, women have never had access to power,” Simmons argues that prostitution has been a way for women to “monetize” the “only thing that women have ever owned.” Using numerous famous illustrations (e.g., William Hogarth's 18th-century painting A Harlot's Progress ), Simmons and coauthor McCarron support this argument by adroitly exploring a range of topics: Sumerian goddess of sexuality Ishtar; the adulterous “jara and jatini” of ancient India; legal prostitution in Amsterdam's “toleration zones”; and Theodora, wife of Roman emperor Justinian, who Simmons considers “the very first prostitution reformer.” All this from the man who once wrote a song on the Kiss album Love Gun titled “Got Love for Sale.” (July)

Reviewed on: 05/12/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61545-985-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-59777-218-1
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