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Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
One of The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011

Well before the 1960s, a sexual revolution was under way in America, led by expatriated European thinkers who saw a vast country ripe for liberation. In Adventures in the Orgasmatron, Christopher Turner tells the revolution’s story—an illuminating, thrilling, often bizarre story of sex
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Felix Hayman
Feb 07, 2012 Felix Hayman rated it really liked it
Firstly, let's get rid of the worst part of this book - the title. It must have been invented by someone at the publishers because it has little to do with the book's contents and will mislead many readers who want to read a dispassionate biography of Wilhelm Reich.
I think there are times in history when the right person is there to make things better and because of the misguided brain becomes the wrong person in history. Wilhelm Reich will always be remembered for his orgone theory or his rath
Jan 21, 2012 Williwaw rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up-on
This is quite a good book, but unfortunately, I have been unable to focus on it. (My lack of focus is partly the result being overwhelmed at and exhausted by a new job.)

"Adventures" is essentially a detailed account of Wilhelm Reich's life. Turner (the author) provides a lot of cultural and historical background to put Reich's life in the context of his times. Consequently, the book reads as much like a history book as it does like a biography. (In particular, I loved reading Turner's fascinati
Nov 17, 2011 June rated it really liked it
I would like to point out that the British version of this book is titled "Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex." This is a biography of Wilhelm Reich. I don't know where the American publishers got " How the Sexual Revolution Came to America," but it doesn't take a psychologist to figure out that kicker will sell more copies. A great biography that covers Reich's life: Training with Freud:Sane; "discovering" Orgone orgasm energy that can cure cancer/Losing It; b ...more
Nuno Ribeiro
This is a book with two distinct parts, simply called "Europe" and "America". And the the book is built that way, having Wilhelm Reich's biography as a reference. "Europe", the shorter first part provides a good background for the freudian circle, and interwar cultural atmosphere from which Reich emerged. And then we get the mature Reich, that drifts away from Freud, goes to America and becomes one of the most intriguing, controversial, influential and forgotten (thanks to this book, not for lon ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Tony rated it it was amazing
An absolutely wonderful book about a psychologist who became more and more leftfield (though he wasn't left wing) as time went on. Wilhelm Reich was disowned first by Freud, then other psychologists, then the scientific establishment. He died in prison in I think 1959. He wrote influential books such as Character Analysis, and The Cult of the Orgasm. Unfortunately he then started marketing his Orgone Accumulator machines, which had no scientific basis in fact -- none that could be measured. Unsu ...more
Nov 19, 2014 Eddie rated it really liked it
Absolutely misnamed. The book was a biography of Wilhelm Reich and an interesting one, at that. The book goes into Reich's philosophy of sexual repression as being the cause of society's ills and individual happiness. It shows his membership in the Communist Party of Germany and his subsequent expulsion. He came to America and was already going off the rails. He spent the latter part of his life trying to protect the world from UFOs and aliens.
Feb 14, 2012 Jean rated it really liked it
started off super slow but then picked up speed as soon as Reich started going off the rails (of course!). Interesting references to my other reading/research into motivators (Freud) and marketing (again Freud).
Oct 17, 2011 Bob rated it liked it
It's always fascinating to read about how crazy the founders of psychoanalysis were!
Jan 09, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Its a good read. Amazed a man like Reich with his mental demons
had that much influence on the culture. Its packed with alot of
tibits about what was going on in the world.
Jun 25, 2012 Jake rated it it was ok
Well, it isn't a true history about the sexual revolution and its journey from Europe to America. It's about the "Father of the Orgasm", Wilhelm Reich, and how he was the person that got the ball rolling on the sexual revolution in general, not just in America. It deals with a lot of principles and outdated techniques used to measure and treat sexual dysfunction and lack of sexual stimulation. I can't really say that I loved it; it's kind of a slow read. It is very interesting to see how this ma ...more
Eric Dietz
May 14, 2012 Eric Dietz rated it really liked it
Fascinating bio/history of onetime Freud heir-apparent/Jung colleague Dr. Wilhelm Reich, discoverer of Orgone energy, inventor of the Orgone Box; Philosoper of Sex and the Orgasm; friend of underground libertines, enemy of the State. An incredible- and incredibly strange- life.

P.S.- there is no such thing as Orgone energy. A brilliant con or the delusions of a schizophrenic? You decide.
This is, more or less, a history of Wilhelm Reich and sort of as a series of sidenotes about the sexual revolution as a historical event that has some sort of implicit argument and the thing is it is really interesting but the title is somewhat misleading?
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Jul 09, 2011
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Oct 15, 2014
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Nov 05, 2011
The Orwell Prize
The Orwell Prize rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2012
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Sep 03, 2011
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Feb 19, 2016
Cain S. Pinto
Cain S. Pinto rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2013
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Jul 23, 2011
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Annette K.  Nielsen
Annette K. Nielsen rated it really liked it
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Vivek Rana
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Michael Connolly rated it really liked it
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