The Boundaries of Desire: A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities

Eric Berkowitz. Counterpoint, $28 (480p) ISBN 978-1-61902-529-5
Berkowitz, a lawyer with experience in intellectual property, First Amendment, and business litigation, presents an immersive, sometimes shocking history of changing sexual mores, and the laws pertaining to them, in the U.S. He covers topics including homosexuality, pedophilia, interracial couples, and sex trafficking, maintaining a pragmatic, non-judgmental tone. The result is an eye-opening history of sexual legislation. Readers will learn of historical givens that strike us as barbaric now (such as the onetime acceptance of marital rape, not fully outlawed in the U.S. until 1993) and of controversial ongoing practices (such as the lifelong registration of minors in sex-offender registries). Berkowitz makes legal history readable, not relying on the subject matter being salacious (which this book is not) but accessibly conveying sophisticated topics and complex events with the assurance of an expert. Moreover, he ties sexual legislation to disparate historical topics, including the eugenics movement, welfare policy, and even the outbreak of WWI. Readers will be sad to arrive at the end of this skillful piece of popular history. Agent: Andrew Stuart, Stuart Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/2015
Release date: 08/11/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-61902-646-9
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-61902-746-6
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