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Last Night in Paradise : Sex and Morals at the Century's End

Katie Roiphe, et al

Comments and Reviews from Amazon.com site

Katie Roiphe is best-known for her controversial date-rape book, The Morning After : Sex, Fear, and Feminism Vol 1. Here's information on her latest.
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Katie Roiphe, et al / Hardcover / Published 1997
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Katie Roiphe / Paperback / Published 1997
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Reviews and Commentary for Last Night in Paradise : Sex and Morals at the Century's End

Amazon.com:
Katie Roiphe made quite a name for herself a couple of years ago with the publication of The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism,which explores the issues of date rape and sexual harassment on college campuses, both of which the author regards as problems that exist mainly in the minds of strident feminists. In her Last Night in Paradise, Roiphe widens her scope from college to the culture-at-large. AIDS figures prominently in this book as the author chronicles the sexual revolution of the '60s and its aftermath in the '90s. Where once (or so the mythology goes) young women took the pill and fell joyfully into bed with a number of lovers, today they are constrained by fear of sexually communicable diseases and death.

Just as a previous generation remembers where they were the day JFK was shot, so Katie Roiphe's generation recalls the day Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive. A new wave of puritanism is sweeping the country, Roiphe posits, and in Last Night in Paradise she recounts the forms it takes, from "secondary virginity" to high-school health class discussions of masturbation as an alternative to sex. But more than just a report on the sexual state of the union, Last Night in Paradise is also a meditation on sexuality, morality, and a nation's yearning for new rules to replace the social anarchy of the past three decades.

The New York Times Book Review, Courtney Weaver :
Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End is no less flip: it is a shoot-from-the-hip blend of observation and reportage, supposedly about the sexual caution endemic to Ms. Roiphe's generation. But lacking the complex insights, cultural background, history and research ...Last Night in Paradise comes off as an irresponsible and protracted whine.

Synopsis:
With the unerring reporter's instinct she brought to her widely discussed The Morning After, one of our most outspoken cultural commentators chronicles our uneasy passage from the sexual revolution to a new Puritanism, in a book that is part history, part prophecy, and all provocation.

Synopsis:
With the unerring reporter's instinct she brought to her widely discussed The Morning After, one of our most outspoken cultural commentators chronicles our uneasy passage from the sexual revolution to a new Puritanism, in a book that is part history, part prophecy, and all provocation.

Card catalog description
Last Night in Paradise is an eye-opening look at an age in which sexual liberation and one-night stands have been replaced by caution and fear. In the tradition of Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Roiphe blends autobiography and cultural criticism to give us a vivid portrait of the sexual puritanism sweeping the nation. She also captures the shadowy sense of unease that lies behind a generation's search for safety and rules, and the national yearning for a new moral order to replace the social and religious structures we have lost. Here for the first time is the history, personal and cultural, of the most profound shift in our national life in the last three decades: the movement from a wild-eyed ethos of sexual freedom to the new conservative morality of the nineties. In prose as absorbing as a novel, Roiphe gives us the inner landscape of a generation that remembers where it was on the day Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive the way previous generations recall the day JFK was shot. We meet right-wing prophets of sexual abstinence in Washington, D.C., and public high school students and their teachers in suburban New Jersey. We enter the world of Alison Gertz, the Park Avenue debutante, and Magic Johnson, the ebullient point guard for the Lakers who boasted of satisfying six women at once, whose stories have imprinted themselves on the national imagination as moral parables for the uncertain and often terrifying age in which we live now.

Customer Comments
A Reader, 06/10/97, rating=3:
Last Night Remorse
Katie Roiphe searched for the pulse of sexuality in America. She interviewed high school and college students and came to the conclusion that everyone's scared of sex and AIDS and they all resent the fact that they missed the sexual revolution.

But Roiphe only interviewed students from elite schools which mimicked her own upbringing, almost to validate her own fears and sexual hang-ups. Her sister is HIV positive, so naturally, she is consumed with thoughts of AIDS. But instead of taking ownership for these feelings, which should be the case in a first-person book, she projects those feelings on the country. She's not comfortable with people having sex with multiple partners at once, so she gloms on to the fact that this may be how Magic Johnson got AIDS.

If Roiphe regrets her own promescuity, that's a valid feeling and an interesting topic for a book. But assuming the country's morals automatically align with hers is arrogant, and probably inaccurate.

From Kirkus Reviews , 01/15/97:
Roiphe weighs in on her generation's AIDS panic; unlike her often ill-reasoned 1992 screed on campus date-rape hysteria (The Morning After, 1993), this volume is witty and shrewdly observed. Noting that among drug-free heterosexuals AIDS has not spread as predicted, Roiphe asks: Why are straight young Americans so panicked, and why do safer-sex educators send them such hysterical messages? She convincingly argues that much of the alarm is not really about the disease at all, but about anxiety over sexual morality and the meaning of intimacy in a world with few limits; it's about the very American notion that irresponsibility and pleasure must have a price. She effectively shows, through examination of pop culture and the media, that even before AIDS, there was a sense that the sexual revolution's permissiveness was going to have some ominous outcome. Her examples of AIDS as a substitute for old-fashioned taboos are well chosen; she perceptively compares France's idealization of filmmaker Cyril Collard and his semi-autobiographical Savage Nights (about a bisexual Don Juan who, knowing he's HIV-positive, continues his promiscuity) with the total moral condemnation heaped on it by critics and the public in the US. Roiphe visits high schools in which kids condemn the girl who sleeps around for putting herself at risk; she notes that such judgments do not sound so different from 1950s anxieties about the class slut's ``bad reputation.'' Roiphe often brings the personal and political together in a single, telling detail; describing a visit with Beverly LaHaye, founder of the far-right Concerned Women for America, she notes that LaHaye speaks slowly, deliberately, ``perhaps hoping that if she talks slowly enough, the world might slow down with her.'' An insightful contribution to the national conversation on AIDS and sexuality--a conversation characterized too often by irrationality and unarticulated fears. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Last Night in Paradise
The Girl from Park Avenue
Playing Around
"Caution Is In"
The Sexual Revolution Is Devouring Its Young
The Selling of Caution
Sentimental Education
Abstinence
Acknowledgments

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