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American Gangbang

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3.21  ·  Rating details ·  172 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A thoughtful, hilarious, and compulsively readable memoir by an Ivy League graduate-turned-pornographer who sets out to bring sophistication and equality to sexual cinema—only to find that he can’t change porn, but porn can certainly change him.

American Gangbang heralds the arrival of a profound and gifted new voice in narrative nonfiction. In 1999, after four years of stu
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ebook, 320 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Gallery Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

So before anything else, let me get a big disclosure out of the way: that about a decade ago, I did some writing and design work for the website JewishCheerleaders.com, online home of the now defunct alt-porn production company once owned by Sam Benjamin, although let me make it clear that I've had no cont
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Tracy Shapley
Nov 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty much the target audience for a book like American Gangbang , or so I thought. I have certainly watched my fair share of pornography (don't tell my mother!) and this novelization of the author's true experiences producing porn was definitely something that intrigued me. Sadly, this book was not only poorly executed, but portions of it were irredeemably vile.

It started off OK - the author was a graduated from an ivy league university, and after a few soul-searching sessions, he decid
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Editrix (Amy Lewis)
Apr 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: ebook
This sorry excuse for a memoir should be given a wide berth not only because the author is a vile misogynist but also because it’s horribly written. The semi-highbrow assertion that he wants to make an artistic, higher-quality sort of porn is belied by the fact that his greatest accomplishment is shooting racist, abusive films for a sleazy website.

The purported "love story," a relationship with someone he refers to as ”White Liz,” ends when, much to his surprise, she throws him out after he hits
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Paul Pessolano
“American Gangbang” by Sam Benjamin, published by Gallery Books

Category –Biography/Memoir

This book is getting a lot of ink, and a lot of it is very good. The reader, though, must be able to handle frank, and sometimes brutal and graphic sex.

Sam Benjamin was born in New York and graduated from Brown University. He graduated with a degree in Art, although he freely admits that he had no talent for “drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other artistic pursuit”.

He told his mother and father that he h
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Tamar
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
just write a blog like everyone else
Alex Flynn
Oct 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research, sex-workers
A mediocre pornographer becomes a mediocre writer. I'm too annoyed with this sexist and misogynistic crap to even review it now. I'll do so in a few weeks maybe.
Tracy Shapley
Sep 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I'm pretty much the target audience for a book like American Gangbang , or so I thought. I have certainly watched my fair share of pornography (don't tell my mother!) and this novelization of the author's true experiences producing porn was definitely something that intrigued me. Sadly, this book was not only poorly executed, but portions of it were irredeemably vile.

It started off OK - the author graduated from an ivy league university, and after a few soul-searching sessions, he decides tha
...more
Therese
(NB: I'm a hard grader, so 3 stars from me is good.) This was a memoir about an Ivy League college graduate who moves to California after graduation and enters the world of pornography as a young filmmaker. (I read it as an ARC giveaway.) It was a surprisingly gripping read - it drew me in more quickly and kept my attention more handily than any of the fiction I've read lately. There were also quite a few places where it made me laugh, too, which is big - being funny in a book is not so easy, so ...more
ILoveBooks
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


The first quality of this book that stuck out to me would be the brutal honesty. When I say brutal, I mean brutal. The author holds nothing back...sometimes the reader wants to reach in and stop him from talking and other times the reader will avidly wait for the author's next thoughts and actions.


The author goes from an Ivy League college graduate to a pornographer...by choice. It was an interesting, but surprisingly well-thought out decision. He goes on to get deeper and deeper into porn, one
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Craven
Sep 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked this book up I was desperately trying to get myself out of the dark, disturbing and deeply depressing place I was in after reading The Porning of America. The book was pro-sex and did it's best to end on a positive note but I remained fixated some of the darker chapters. For instance, the chapter on how the Abu Ghraib incident was greatly influenced by violent, racist and extremely dehumanizing hate porn that is just click away on the internet for children or anybody else to easily ...more
Amy
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review is a bit iffy because by the end of the book I was feeling like Sam did about his time as a pornographer-- I just wanted it to be over. The metaphors between pornography and the reading experience are numerous and I think that's an asset because they are naturally occurring, not manufactured literary tropes. The books is honest and explicit, so it's not for the faint of heart. As a professor who often touches on the subjects of pornography and obscenity, it was a good read. As a human ...more
Periodic
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
10. American Gangbang by Sam Benjamin
It took me 3 months to finish this book and I tend to read rather quickly. If you're looking for an anger inducing misogynistic view of the patriarchy that existed in the adult industry during the 90s, check this out. If you have any sense at all, take a pass. It was terrible. Like really terrible.
Tanis
Feb 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Misogynist crap. If you think this book is hilarious, let alone thoughtful, I do not want to be your friend.
Jamie Rose
This could have been really interesting. It wasn't.

I think an important thing for the writer of a memoir to have is charisma. Also, I'm not entirely sure that under about 50 years old, a person has the wisdom, life experience and sense of perspective about themselves to write a really good memoir (unless they are I dunno, say Micheal Jackson or Shirley Temple who had an eventful childhood. Somebody who was cosseted by happy, normal parents through school, college and then pootled off in a Volvo
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Ashley Hill
It's a book about a privileged twentysomething thinking about his life while gawking at people he frequently refers to as "damaged." The writing style makes it somewhat interesting, and it's not challenging to read -- I barrelled through it in a day. But it's not terribly enjoyable either.

By the end I found the author generally repugnant. And we're supposed to; by the end of the narrative he finds himself repugnant. By the end he just comes off as arrogant, gross, and a cog in the system that h
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Bridget
Apr 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truetrue
This book could have been amazing based on the preview I read before I bought it. It seemed like it would be about his experiences in the industry while talking reflexively about the industry. Instead it was essentially Bay Area navel-gazing with fairly basic porn explication thrown in the mix for middling shock value.

I understand the desire particularly when working in or around porn to constantly check yourself to see how you feel, both about yourself and the work that you do. You want to be
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Guillermo
Despite constant feel of "braggery," I have to say I liked Sam Benjamin's memoir. However, there are times in the book where it feels like he's trying to paint himself as a nice guy. There are times when he repeats almost like a mantra that he's going to quit the job, but continues to pick up the camera. Then there's the whole lust for the complete and utter degradation of a female. It's hard to see him as anything other than what he really is/was, a pornographer. Also, a lot of the dialogue fee ...more
Sarah
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is a book I received as part of the Goodreads: First Reads Giveaway program.

I'm not sure how to explain how I feel about this book. I both really like it and think its weird. American Gangbang is the memoir of Sam Benjamin who graduated from Brown University and went into the porn business. His intention is to make movies and art, but finds that to be a hard goal to achieve.

The book has an easy, humorous feel to the writing that I really enjoyed. Even when giving the lowdown on the busine
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Scott Freeman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eunice Moral
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction


Humorous, riveting even.

It was so beautifully written, I could marry it. This book is weird in a beautiful way. It's been a long time since I came across something profound and compelling such as this memoir and all I could think of was, I wish I could write that way. His writing was not ambitious, everything just fits perfectly. I wouldn't lie that I liked it, everything about it, it was a breather, I mean something out of the usual for me. It was the kind of book that will leave you with somet
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Cordelia Stewart
This book was a pretty disturbing read. It illustrates the damaging effect of the pornography industry on both how women are treated and viewed, and the way it slowly warps the mind of the male viewer, especially those involved in the production and distribution of porn. Since it's a memoir you see the industry from a male directors point of view. While bias is certainly present in this book, Sam Benjamin does good job at not holding back. He does not write with the intention of making people li ...more
Helena
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book, thanks to first reads.

Let me start out by saying it is disturbingly graphic at times, so it's probably not for the faint of heart, or those who would be repulsed by rather graphic sexual detail.

But if you can get past that, it's a rather engaging read. In fact, I found that once I started, I just had to keep reading to what happened next.

At times it was disturbing, at times it was slightly amusing. The author is a good story teller, and
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Blane
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2012
Rich Ivy League-educated straight white boy relocates from the East Coast to the West Coast to fulfill his dream of making "arty" bi-racial porn because...well...because he is a rich Ivy League-educated straight white boy & thus has the privilege to do pretty much whatever he wants with his life. The writing is perfunctory at best & the accounting of his experiences (if they happened at all--I am left more than a little skeptical of the veracity of his tales) is tedious and repetitive. L ...more
Sierra Dean
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I don't know what to say about this book. I was excited to read it, enticed by the illicit topic and the promise of a well written foray into the world of pornography. What I got was certainly gritty enough, but so gritty I felt like I needed to hug a puppy afterwards.

Some people will probably enjoy it a lot, it has a certain tawdry appeal to it and it obviously kept me reading until the end, but I felt more than a little dirty afterwards.
Dale Stonehouse
This wasn't the best memoir I have read, but it IS the best book I have ever read with gangbang in the title. The book is an education in modern pornography for those of us in whose time porn was only seen at stag parties on 8mm film projectors and Playboy magazine was considered porn. The content is probably about the same as ever and no more hardcore than when we would buy the films at the Wabasha Bookstore in St. Paul.
Anaïs Ninjas
Dec 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why did I read this? I hate myself for reading this. The author is smug and gross about his exploits. The only emotions that Benjamin manages to convey consistently are petulant ennui and a raging sense of entitlement.

There is no heart in this book, there is no love story, and there is no redemption. There is only the sexual abuse of a banana peel.
Scott Barney
If you ever wanted to read about a frat-boy-slacker who, for lack of any artistic ability or career options, goes into pornography, then this is the book for you. I'm not sure how it ended up on my Kindle - it must have gotten some praise from some journal I read - but can't say it was a must-read. A fly-on-the-wall view of a rather pathetic group of people.
Elliott Segal
Uh, this was not The Graduate. And this Ben did more than consider 'plastics'. Ribald and raunchy but at times very funny with a redemptive quality at the end. Not for anyone easily offended. But I loved Boogie Nights and this was similar in a lot of ways.
Barbara
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Advanced readers copy received from Goodreads. Big fat kudos to Sam Benjamin! I laughed til tears ran. American Gangbang: A Love Story was incredibly witty, insightful and just plain fun to read. Brings to mind Hunter S Thompson's hallowed Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. More please Mr Benjamin!!
Lindsay
Oct 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't read this. The author has rage issues and hate towards women.
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Sam Benjamin attended Brown University from 1995 to 1999, where he spent his time deciphering post-modern theory, drawing comic books, and making self-indulgent videos.

Post-school life led Sam to Santa Cruz, California, where he discovered an impressive network of marijuana farmers but not much in the way of a contemporary arts scene. Yet it was in this town that he first hatched his pornographic
...more
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