Sex and Pulp and Rock'n'roll

Article excerpt

Sex and pulp and rock'n'roll Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks 1900-1974 By Stephen J. Gertz Feral House, www.feralhouse.com/ordering, $24.95

Reviewed by Steven Heller

In 1952, us Congressman Ezekiel C. Gathings singled out pocket-sized, mass-market paperbacks as being for 'adults of low ethical standards'. He meant pulp books exploiting sex, violence, crime, and drugs, rather than cheap reprints of standard literature. Although all were indeed popular 'low ethical' themes, the last has provided the pretext to cover all bases in one handy volume. Stephen J. Gertz's Dope Menace is no mere collection of pop-culture ephemera but a record of how drugs have long played a prurient role in art and literature both high and low. While the majority of the covers conform to the pulp conventions, there are some that are religious in tone. The Moloch of Marihuana (1943), by the aptly named Rev R. …

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