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A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century

A Memoir

List Price: $15.95

March 2, 2010 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 320 pages | ISBN 9781582435596
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Born into “a certain kind of family”—affluent, white, Protestant—Jane Vandenburgh came of age when the sexual revolution was sweeping the cultural landscape, making its mark in a way that would change our manners and mores forever. But what began as an all–American life soon spun off and went spectacularly awry.

Her father, an architect with a prominent Los Angeles firm, was arrested several times for being in gay bars during the 1950s, and only freed when her grandfather paid bribes to the L.A.P.D. He was ultimately placed in a psychiatric hospital to be “cured” of his homosexuality, and committed suicide when she was nine. Her mother—an artist and freethinker—lost custody of her children when she was committed to a mental hospital. The author and her two brothers were raised by an aunt and uncle who had, under one roof, seven children and problems of their own.

In the midst of private trauma and loss, Vandenburgh delights in revealing larger truths about American culture and her life within it. Quirky, witty, and uncannily wise, A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century is a brilliant blend of memoir and cultural revelation.

About Jane Vandenburgh

Jane Vandenburgh is the award-winning author of two novels, Failure to Zigzag and The Physics of Sunset, as well as Architecture of the Novel, A Writer's Handbook and The Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, A Memoir. She has taught writing and literature at U. C. Davis, the George Washington University, and, most recently, at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Callfornia. A native of Berkeley, she has returned to live with her family in the West, and with Wayne Thiebaud, her dog.

"Intense, controlled, a memoir–as–fever–dream." —The New York Times

"It's a rare pleasure to be in the hands of a memoirist both old enough and good enough to wring this kind of coherence from life's chaos." —The New York Times Book Review

"Like a string of Chinese firecrackers." —Washington Post

"This woman traffics in the truth." —Anne Lamott

"A wholly original, beautiful book." —Michael Downing, author of Life with Sudden Death

"The vividness of those people and the hard–to–describe implicit sanity and moral clarity that underly the always–about–to–get–out–of–control voice gets to feel funny, sane, heartbreaking, and so deeply intelligent . . . It is just brilliant, and true." —Robert Hass, author of Now & Then

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