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women's studies

Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America

Christopher Turner.
Publisher FSG  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.75 inches
ISBN 9780374100940
Pages/Publication Date 532/2011
Daedalus Item Code 33132
This item is not available.
(A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011 and one of the Best Books of 2011 in the Economist) Decades before the 1960s, a sexual revolution was underway in America, led by expatriated European intellectuals like Wilhelm Reich, who were raised on psychoanalytical theory and found a vast, repressed country ripe for liberation. Central to Christopher Turner's illuminating, often bizarre story of sex, science, and social mores is Reich's invention, the Orgone Accumulator—a tall cabinet of wood, metal, and steel wool that was purported to help its naked occupant accumulate the radiant cosmic energy that Reich believed drove sexual function in humans—which eventually became a visual punchline in Woody Allen's film Sleeper.

"How [Reich] went from being one of the inspirational figures of the psychoanalytic movement, as a clinician, a teacher and a writer, to being a cult figure on the margins of 1960s America is an extraordinary story, and Turner tells it with subtlety and panache. Turner has interviewed many people who knew Reich well, and he casts his net wide, setting Reich's quirks and crimes in their historical context so that a portrait of the man emerges rather than a diagnosis."—London Review of Books

"Turner has created a masterful synthesis of social history, psychosexual theory, obsession, and farce. The narrative is a madcap parade: Freud and Einstein, Leon Trotsky and Mabel Dodge, the Red Scare and UFOs, Ginsberg and Burroughs, Bellow and Mailer, Dwight MacDonald and James Baldwin, Woody Allen and Kurt Cobain—and Wilhelm Reich's quixotic hunt for the ideal orgasm."—David Friend

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