The Press: Teaser

One evening early in 1971, as Author Gay Gaetano Galante Septimo Talese (The Kingdom and the Power, Honor Thy Father) was walking home from a Manhattan restaurant with his wife, he spotted a sign on a Lexington Avenue third-floor window: LIVE NUDE MODELS. That was when Talese, a lapsed Catholic of conventionally moralistic upbringing, suddenly realized that the sexual revolution had landed almost literally at his doorstep. Next day he walked back alone for his first massage-parlor massage.

That rubdown was inspiration—and the initial field research—for a projected 800-page magnum opus on sex,...

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