L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?

Bent Corydon

Former Scientologist Corydon presents a remarkably disorganized yet wholly worthwhile account of L. Ron and attendant Clears. While in places the book reads as if it had been written by the author of Battlefield Earth himself (“They had this paper shredder which was so big!… It was a big big big giant munching shredder!!”), the story of how a pulp science-fiction writer created, maintained and left to his heirs, such as they are, one of this century’s most successful religions (now IRS-approved!) remains as disconcerting as it is unlikely, however often it is told. Considerable material here not found in other books on the subject, expressed whenever possible in the most melodramatic way. JW

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 464 pages

My Struggle: The Explosive Views of Russia’s Most Controversial Political Figure

Vladimir Zhirinovsky

For a man who spits and throws rocks at Jewish protesters and threatens to kill his enemies with an “atomic pistol,” it is not surprising, still yet very unoriginal, that he should name his book Mein Kampf, er, My Struggle. The curiosity behind all of Zhirinovsky’s blustering and mad-sounding tirades is that he is half-Jewish—the “bad” half, according to him. This reviewer was unimpressed with his slim autobiography,; it seemed to be “much ado about nothing.” Perhaps I missed something? Like, actions speak louder than words? JB

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 144 pages

Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky

Shmuel Katz

This biography of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky at 1,855 pages isn’t light reading. The man behind the book wasn’t light either: Jabotinsky, a journalist and author, was one of the most important Zionist leaders of the 20th century. Jabotinsky was the ideologue of the Zionist revisionists. He was the spiritual forerunner to the Likud party, Netanyahu and the Jewish Defense League. Jabotinsky was foremost a right-wing nationalist, who bordered on being a fascist—there’s even rumors that he had secret meetings with the Nazis. SC

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 1855 pages

Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder

Aram Saroyan

May-September husband and wife Andrea Claire and Robert Sand seemed to have a happy marriage until wheelchair-bound Sand was found murdered in their Palm Springs house. Soon any illusion that they and their marriage had been anything other than utterly bizarre was shattered. First, information came out that Andrea had worked as a call-girl, her husband had been a client, and the essential nature of their relationship had not changed since the marriage and had included SM role-playing. Under investigation by the police, Andrea began to report attacks by people she claimed were associates of her late husband, in which she would receive scratches to her body, and knives would be inserted in her rectum. Then followed a murderous attack on her new boyfriend. Brought to trial for her husband’s death, her defense turned on the question of her sanity after a lifetime of abuse. Fascinating tale of the grotesque which lurks behind the manicured lawns of suburbia. NN

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 366 pages

Psychedelics: A Collection of the Most Exciting New Material on Psychedelic Drugs

Compiled by Thomas Lyttle

Hallucinatory highlights from the quasi-academic journal Psychedelic Monographs and Essays compiled by its intrepid editor. Essays include: “Ludiomil, LSD-25 and the Lucid Dream,” “The Seven Deadly Sins of Media Hype Considered in Light of the MDMA Controversy,” “Disney's Intrapsychic Drama Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Grofian Interpretation,” “Amazon Shamanism: The Ayahuasca Experience” and “Further Comments on U4Euh With More Recent Addenda.” GR

Publisher: Barricade
Paperback: 272 pages

Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices

Edited by Brenda Love

An enlightened Mondo Cane of kink—alphabetized, of course. A brief sampling of entries should give some idea of the passionate depth of research that went into creating this volume: maieusiophilia—those who are aroused by women who are about to give birth; golden enemas—enemas using urine instead of water (“this is physically difficult and only a few men are able to urinate while semi-erect”); homilophilia—feeling sexual arousal while listening to or giving sermons and speeches; hybristophilia—orgasm dependent on being with a partner known to have committed an outrage or crime such as rape, murder or armed robbery; sacofricosis—the practice of cutting a hole in the bottom of a front pant pocket and then sticking a hand through to masturbate; sex restaurants—the Swiss restaurant Hjarlter Dam allows dominant women to anchor their slaves to a table or chair leg and certain Japanese coffee shops are equipped with mirrored tiles on the floor to assist customers who may want to look up the waitresses’ dresses (whose uniforms do not include underwear). While not afraid to venture way beyond Psychopathia Sexualis in terms of bizarre and obscure sexual proclivities, editor Love is also generous with basic sex-therapy advice and cultural history on subjects from kissing to impotence. Illustrated with cool miniature dictionary-type line drawings from the likes of underground comic artist Paul Mavrides and medical illustrator and Re/Search cover artist Phoebe Glockner. SS

Publisher: Barricade
Paperback: 336 pages

Unnatural Acts: A Dominatrix Talks

Susan Shellogg

And talks… and talks. Fortunately, much of Shellogg’s exegesis is entertaining, if somewhat disingenuous. She frames her story in the breezy contemporary style of sex work memoirists dating back to Xaviera Hollander. Just another nice girl from a perfectly normal middle-class background who discovers hidden riches in her ability to amuse men with money. Happily, there is none of the self-serving vindictiveness toward her benefactors that has made such a hit of the ludicrous You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again. Shellogg’s particular specialty is dishing out carefully titrated abuse to male clients whose pleasure is pain and humiliation. She is, by her own description, “the eternal slut-mother. That’s what I do for a living. I embody the bitch.” These embodiments manifest the familiar forms: bondage, flagellation, latex fetishism, urolagnia, et al.
What sets this good-natured account apart from so much current SM lit, both serious and exploitational, is its welcome lack of moralizing and/or special pleading. A witty and engaging writer, Mistress Sonya (her nom de dom) loves to tell a good story more than she needs to make a point. Though her clients seem a somewhat pitiful lot for all their disposable income, mainly because their closeted status forces them to share their most intimate needs with a hired stranger, the author never seems to lose her zest for the game. And a game it is. Unlike her clients, and unlike lifestyle SM practitioners, Shellogg makes no bones about her own yearning for the conventional, for a husband, a house and a “normal” life. She is a bit of an outsider to the world in which she works, which makes her a pretty good guide to it after all. IL

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 304 pages

Great Big Beautiful Doll: The Anna Nicole Smith Story

Eric and D’Eva Redding

In 1991, Houston-based photographer Eric Redding and his makeup artist wife, D’eva, took a series of Polaroid test shots of a young woman from Mexia, Texas, named Vickie Lynn Smith. The photos were submitted to Playboy, and five months later Vickie Lynn, rechristened Anna Nicole Smith, graced the magazine’s cover. For Anna Nicole, fame, fortune and a lucrative Guess? clothing contract were followed all too soon by problems with drugs, weight and marriage to a man some sixty years her senior. According to the Reddings, who profess to have been among her “biggest fans,” Smith “is a mix of contradictions, contrasts and is big, like the [Texas] map.” But if prose isn’t their strong point, gossip and innuendo are, and they deliver it with a vengeance. From her early days at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken through breast enhancement surgery to allegations of prostitution, lesbianism and unchecked greed, the Reddings recount the unsavory details of Anna Nicole Smith’s rise and, especially, her fall with ill-concealed glee, often quoting stories from the tabloid press in the process. Highlights include the reproduction of Smith’s handwritten releases for the Playboy test shots (her likes include “Gentlemen who no [sic] how to treat a lady”) and a mug shot which clearly shows her height, consistently referred to as 5’11” or more, to be just under 5’9”. And then there was the time Eric Redding had to explain to Smith that Los Angeles was located in California. Great Big Beautiful Doll will delight all gossip mongers—and who among us isn’t? LP

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 208 pages

Hollywood Lesbians

Boze Hadleigh

“I’m a dyke. So what? Big deal!” So decrees gin-riddled, moon-faced octogenarian actress Patsy Kelly, star of Rosemary’s Baby and The North Avenue Irregulars. The Big Deal is that the now-deceased Kelly had firsthand knowledge of what Tallulah Bankheaad liked to do with her pussy (she preferred frequent “pubic massage”), and anyone with that sort of information deserves at least the 20-page interview printed here, famous or not. The other subjects are Marjorie Main, Nancy Kulp, Barbara Stanwyck, Capucine, Dorothy Arzner, Edith Head, Sandy Dennis and Dame Judith Anderson. Actually, said lesbians don’t contribute as much firsthand gossip as one would like, but this is more than compensated for by the inclusion of bitchy testimony from first-class fishwives like Elsa Lanchester (apparently not a lesbian), and Paul Lynde (Lynde: “Agnes Moorehead? One of the all-time Hollywood dykes!”). And with the exception of frosty Miss Barbara Stanwyck, they all seem to have something interesting to say. Aside from Patsy Kelly, the best interviews here are with Marjorie Main (famous for her Ma Kettle character, a sort of butch Mother Hubbard) and the fabulously evil Dame Judith. Worth owning for the title alone. MG

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 320 pages

My First 2,000 Men

Liz Renay

“Men have considered her one of the most exciting women alive, a glamorous love goddess. Now she has written a totally revealing and enthralling book about her loves and life, including revelations about Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Sylvester Stallone, and many many more.”

Publisher: Barricade