From Publishers Weekly
Screw magazine founder Goldstein chronicles his dramatic career in pornography in this occasionally compelling but more frequently repellent memoir. Driven by an unfocused rage-"I got up every morning to face my enemies. And I loved it"-Goldstein cut a wide swath in his rise to porn infamy, alienating readers, family members and friends with outrageous and inflammatory behavior before cannibalizing his sizable fortune and winding up in a homeless shelter for half a year. Unfortunately, Goldstein never quite gets around to discussing his crushing financial failure in much detail, focusing instead on gleeful stories of debauchery with porn stars like Linda Lovelace and interviews with the famous and notorious, ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Albert Speer, pulled from the pages of his magazine. He's more than candid, and certainly isn't out to make himself a hero; when gunmen enter his magazine's office, for example, Goldstein's thoughts first turn to his infant son, but then "turned to the more immediate matter of protecting the $2,500 Pulsar watch on my wrist." It's a recurring theme in the book-when given the opportunity to do the right thing, Goldstein instinctively thinks of himself first-making it hard to muster much sympathy. Though amusing and titillating, this memoir isn't much more than another stab at fame and fortune from a selfish, angry and intermittently funny man.
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A genuine survivor of the culture wars of the 1960s, Screw magazine publisher Goldstein comes clean in a rambling autobiography-cum-cultural manifesto. Goldstein, 69, hasn't had an easy life. Indeed, he was recently homeless for a year--a consequence of frittering away a not-insignificant pile of pelf amassed during his heyday, which wealth shouldn't be considered in the same breath with the fortune of that other notorious sex publisher, Hugh Hefner. Playboy was all about "tasteful" nudity and air-brushing, whereas Screw was all in-your-face, sweaty reality and in many ways a precursor of Larry Flynt's Hustler, which shoved porn into the mainstream along lines greased by Goldstein. Now on marriage number five, Goldstein works in Internet media, with sexually oriented Web sites and services. This book, written with former Screw associate Friedman, invokes familiar names from Jacob Javits to Mad publisher William M. Gaines as it summarizes and justifies a life lived on the cultural barricades. Details about genuine sixties characters, such as porn star John C. Holmes ("Johnny Wadd"), add fascination. Mike Tribby
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