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Synopsis

In this wide-ranging history, Richard Bernstein explores the connection between sex and power as it has played out between Eastern cultures and the Western explorers, merchants, and conquerors who have visited them. This illuminating book describes the historical and ongoing encounter between these travelers and the morally ambiguous opportunities they found in foreign lands. Bernstein’s narrative teems with real figures, from Marco Polo and his investigation into the harem of Kublai Khan; the nineteenth-century American missionary Isabella Thoburn and her efforts to stamp out the “sinfulness” of the Mughal culture of India; Gustave Flaubert and his dalliances with Egyptian prostitutes; to modern-day sex tourists in Southeast Asia, as well as the women that they both exploit and enrich. Provocative and insightful, The East, The West, and Sex is a lucid look at a pervasive and yet mostly ignored subject.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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