From the nudie cuties of the 1950s to celebrity porn in the late 1990s, The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry offers an insider's view of the adult film industry's transition from a shady, backroom business to a $10-billion-per-year money machine and mainstream acceptance. The story is told through interviews with hundreds of actors, directors, law enforcement officials, and other participants, all edited together with expert skill and pacing.
The industry exploded in the early 1970s with the success of the Mafia-backed Deep Throat, which reportedly grossed $100 million after an initial $22,000 investment. Featured at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, the film ushered in the rise of "porno chic," making it fashionable, for a time, to take a date to a porn film. One industry insider described Deep Throat as "the Blair Witch Project of its time." Filled with sleazy intrigue, vivid details, and many heartbreaking--and even touching--stories, The Other Hollywood covers the actors, the numerous legal challenges to the industry, FBI sting operations, the Mafia connection, rampant drug use, rock stars, celebrities, the opposition by religious and political groups, the emergence of AIDS (that claimed the lives of porn superstars such as the famously endowed John Holmes), and the explosion of the video market and its overnight fortunes. Even at 600 pages, this is a quick and engrossing read that is hard to put down. --Shawn Carkonen