Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Golden Goddesses" 2012 Book of the Year: Gram Ponante

Thank you to journalist Gram Ponante for selecting "Golden Goddesses" as one of the best adult-themed books of 2012: Best Books of 2012: Ropey Volley Awards. The following book review is excerpted from Ponante's piece on three selected books.

My favorite adult-themed books of 2012 had no shades of grey within them whatsoever; they were accounts of people who, if they had doubts, made bold choices anyway. Then there was my book, which is chock full of doubt.

I read a number of memoirs, How To books, and coffeetable tomes, but none were as useful or enlightening as Jill C. Nelson’s comprehensive and brilliant oral history Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985. It is a massive book, and the kind that equally encourages flipping between chapters as it does a front-to-back reading.
“Golden Goddesses” was conceived shortly after Nelson finished her exhaustive oral history of John Holmes, “A Life Measured in Inches.”
“I met many of these women when collecting interviews for the John Holmes book,” Nelson says, “and if (“Inches”) told many stories while explaining John’s, (“Goddesses”) is much more of a history.”
It is an amazing history, and one that is that much more significant by virtue of the subject matter. While people like Veronica Hart, Annie Sprinkle, and Nina Hartley have both the resources and resolve to tell their stories, many of Nelson’s interviews, especially as delivered through the filter of hindsight by people like “Taboo”‘s Kay Parker, “Aunty Peg”‘s Juliet Anderson, or Rhonda Jo Petty, would have likely never been told with such detail had Nelson not happened along.
Nelson, a low-key Canadian in her 50s, compiled this 900+-page tome over three years, and I have never encountered a more comprehensive detailing of the gleeful freedom of the porn lifestyle of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s as well as the repressive society that made it inevitable.
Petty speaks of getting bullied into a fisting scene.
“I let [the director] intimidate me because of where I came from,” she says. “When my father heard about the film, he threatened to break my arms and legs.”
Packed with more than 300 photos as well as a selected filmography of the profiled stars, “Golden Goddesses” is a must-have for porn fans as well as a compelling social history.

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