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One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History
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One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  52 reviews

Ben Franklin saved the American Revolution by seducing French Women. A gay love affair between President James Buchanan and Senator William King aided the secession movement. Woodrow Wilson’s girlfriend dictated his letters to the German Kaiser. And lesbian relationships inspired Eleanor Roosevelt to become a revolutionary crusader for equal rights. The colorful sex

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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Start your review of One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History
Akemi G.
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We need more books like this to flesh out our understanding of history. Well-researched. I especially enjoyed the part about the Kennedy family.
Oh, the author has a bad reputation? Innocent little me didn't know that. ^_^ In any case, I am evaluating the book, not the author.
EowynRN
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical Buffs
Recommended to EowynRN by: Goodreads Giveaway
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway copy. I tend to enjoy all books having to do with sex, which you should assume this book is since it's authored by Larry Flynt of Penthouse fame. Although I read this book with Woody Haraldson's voice in my head, the book reads as informational history and sexual intrigue rather than a letter to the Penthouse forums.

You go on a journey from the founders of our country to the latest leaders such as Clinton and how their sexual conquests influenced and
...more
Justin
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bought as a guilty pleasure to take my mind off my final film school project, this book proved deeply fascinating in a way i would have never expected. We're so used to viewing our country's Presidents (particularly Founding Fathers) as such one-dimensional granite statue figures that we forget that they actually lived and breathed as flesh and blood. So rather than scandalizing these politicians, this book actually served to humanize them, which was really interesting and cool and made me look ...more
Catherine
Jun 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Definitely an interesting read. The authors start with the founding of America and work through history up to the Clinton era to detail famous presidential sex scandals. I found that some of the arguments put forward (for example, that Lincoln was inspired to write the Emancipation Proclamation because he was allegedly homosexual) are a bit of a stretch, and consist of more hypothesis than fact. However, it was entertaining to read, and the authors make extensive use of primary sources (letters, ...more
Leeanne Arial
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting book. When there is no absolute proof sexual activity took place, it is pointed out to the reader to make up their own minds about the facts presented. Though Larry Flynt is often associated with the worst of the worst of sleaze, this book was well-researched and presented in an interesting manner. Nothing was overly perverted and the interesting inside information is presented to the reader in a way that makes for a fast-paced, fun and riveting read. Some of the most ...more
Eric
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, history
A different look at American history! Glad to see that nothing has changed over the centuries, sex is the "downfall" for all man. An interesting read looking at the history of the presidents and the scandals that sometimes defined them, yet other times eluded the public eye.
Adriana
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
-Giveaway Review #2-
When I found that I won this book, I was incredibly excited. I grew up with an incredibly Republican father who used to be incredibly liberal, and is quite frankly a thorn in my side when it comes to understanding anything about politics, so I've always tried to stay away from politics altogether.
I've always been a person who likes to observe and soak everything in, see how little situations and ideas affect human behavior, so I've developed my own unconventional ideas about
...more
Ana Mardoll
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
One Nation Under Sex / 9780230120358

I didn't know quite what to expect going into this book -- I mean, the author is *Larry Flynt* and I wasn't exactly certain that it was going to be a bastion of high journalism. Well, you know what they say about assumptions; "One Nation Under Sex" is incredibly well-written, thoroughly documented, and utterly fascinating from start to finish.

"One Nation Under Sex" travels systematically through the sex lives of our nation's presidents, and uncovers quite a
...more
Ana Mardoll
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
One Nation Under Sex / 9780230120358

I didn't know quite what to expect going into this book -- I mean, the author is *Larry Flynt* and I wasn't exactly certain that it was going to be a bastion of high journalism. Well, you know what they say about assumptions; "One Nation Under Sex" is incredibly well-written, thoroughly documented, and utterly fascinating from start to finish.

"One Nation Under Sex" travels systematically through the sex lives of our nation's presidents, and uncovers quite a
...more
Angel
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: politics and history readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Simpson
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked this up as a diversion, and came away with the affirmation that everything goes in cycles. During the 19th century, newspapers were openly affiliated with political parties, followed by a change in the early 20th century towards a more independent and objective media. Perhaps there's hope we'll get back to that point.

This was a fascinating read, one that shows that there really are no "good old days", and that every age has its share of political and sexual intrigue. Some of the
...more
carissa
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Ben Franklin saved the American Revolution by seducing French Women. A gay love affair between President James Buchanan and Senator William King aided the secession movement. Woodrow Wilson’s girlfriend dictated his letters to the German Kaiser. And lesbian relationships inspired Eleanor Roosevelt to become a revolutionary crusader for equal rights. The colorful sex lives of America’s most powerful leaders have influenced social movements, government policies, elections and even wars, yet they ...more
Kristen
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historian David Eisenbach and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt teamed up to catalog what most of us already knew - men ambitious enough to make it to the presidency most likely have powerful sex drives too. Put that together with the fact that power is attractive to a lot of women, and it becomes clear that faithfulness, as seemingly found with W and Obama, is the presidential exception rather than the rule.

So now that Eisenbach and Flynt have made it abundantly clear that founding fathers,
...more
Elizabeth
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Angie, Jenny B
Shelves: non-fiction
Thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful and only occasionally salacious history of political sex scandals dating all the way back to Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolley Madison. Flynt and Eisenbach make two convincing arguments about our obsession with our leaders' private lives. First, as a nation that elects its leaders (rather than inheriting them), we judge each man and woman on the basis of what we know, and one's moral character often heavily weights that decision. To follow that ...more
Len
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a fun and interesting book! I always knew about some of the sex scandals surrounding our presidents, but I had no idea how extensive it was. This book brings to light some very interesting scandals involving our commanders in chief, going back to the founding fathers.

Some gems: President James Buchanan was gay and in love with a slave owner from the south and this relationship hastened the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln had a history of sharing his bed with men. Dolly Madison was the nation's
...more
Resonance
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly good, fair, and thorough work. I half expected it to be a lurid expose of sexual hypocrisy among our elected officials, dragging everyone through the mud with every rumor ever shared about them. Instead it turned out to be pretty even handed and had a LOT of interesting data. I won't spoil it, but some of it was completely new to me. The author's aim throughout the work hasn't been 'oh, look who knocked boots in the White House' or 'Moral Majoritarian by day, sexual ...more
EowynRN
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway copy. I tend to enjoy all books having to do with sex, which you should assume this book is since it's authored by Larry Flynt of Penthouse fame. Although I read this book with Woody Haraldson's voice in my head, the book reads as informational history and sexual intrigue rather than a letter to the Penthouse forums.

You go on a journey from the founders of our country to the latest leaders such as Clinton and how their sexual conquests influenced and
...more
Jarrod Walker
I received this book as a first reads giveaway. I felt a little deceived by the title. I actually thought that the stories within the book were going to refer to decisions and policies that were shaped by the sex lives or sex scandals of our leaders past and present. Instead it was mainly about the sex lives of leaders and how those leaders dealt with the populous and press in regards to their own scandals.
The book was well written, and it was nice to get some new information not taught in
...more
Jeannette
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Written entirely, I assume, by David Eisenbach, the Columbia University professor who shares the author billing with Larry Flynt, this doesn't dish up the most elegant prose. It does dish a wide variety of dirt on American political luminaries ranging from Ben Franklin to George HW Bush, much of which I didn't know. Perhaps most scandalous to me was the breadth and depth of information supporting the case that Abraham Lincoln was gay, and the depth of J. Edgar Hoover's depravity. I also knew ...more
Travis Smith
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. I never really thought about the sex lives of presidents before and how it really can affect history. Some of the things are somewhat hard to believe and I’m not sure I fully do believe them now but it is something to think about. The book is well researched and has plenty of supporting evidence. Towards the end with the Clinton scandal I got a little bored it didn’t feel like to me it was written the same as the rest of the book, but other then that I really ...more
Suzanne
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a good book although I was embarrassed to be reading something with such a salacious sounding title, particularly by a notoriously known author, Larry Flynt. I was impressed with his co-author, David Eisenbach, when I heard him on TV, however, and found the book to be well written and engaging. It is nicely documented with many notes and I found it to be a real eye opener. The lesson learned is one that young people would be well to heed, choices you make have impacts in many different ...more
Terry Perrel
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Yep. A book by Hustler founder, Larry Flynt AND a historian from Columbia University. If you want a book to take to sperm donation, this one won't do it for you. If you want to understand how flings and flames and their repercussions affected key actions taken by U.S. Presidents and the history of the U.S., read this. I learned more history from these pages than the sum total of el-hi, college and postgrad classes that skipped Warren Harding and James Buchanan.



Janet
May 18, 2011 rated it liked it
When I first saw Larry Flynt’s name on this book, I was a little apprehensive. Right or wrong, I tend to associate him with muck-raking of the lowest degree. But I was pleasantly surprised. He provides all the gory, drool-inducing tidbits in a straight-forward, “just the facts” manner. I particularly liked his conclusion—that the sooner America calms down and realizes that their leaders are adults of legal age and have healthy sex drives, the sooner we can focus on the really important stuff.
Joyce M. Tice
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is essential reading for any historian. Most of the chapters in this book are known to many of us but almost never to the full extent. It is very revealing how the personal lives of leaders affected national and world events from the beginning of our political system to the present. We make heroes of our leaders and leaders of our heroes, and they are all just ordinary people after all. Excellent book.
Cole Oberndorfer
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book full of interesting, informative, and often hilarious historical anecdotes. Overall it appeared very thoroughly researched and provided some amazing background on American history. The only downside was in the closing chapters when Larry Flynt, as always, felt the need to pontificate and throw his personal agenda in to the mix for no reason. Aside from the detour from facts an interesting and engaging read.
Andy
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this book was excellent. it is entertaining, but really does show how not understanding the sex lives of the presidents and first ladies does not give you a complete picture of history. im sure it could make some kids feel better to know that at least 2 presidents were gay. Flynt does kinda go overboard about his role in history at the end though. i had no idea Harding was such a pimp.
Arlan
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing


One of the best books on presidential and American history I have ever read. When I teach history some day this will be on my required reading list. It isn't just random comments. The book is researched and footnoted with source documents. Excellent read for any history fan or American wanting to see that BOTH parties are guilty of scandals involving sexuality.
Sarah
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cocktail party enthusiasts, history fans
This is the book Bill Bryson might write if Bill Bryson were a total horndog.* I enjoyed getting a new perspective on American history. The claims seem to be well-researched, although in a few cases, the authors might have confused smoke with fire. Some of the writing was salacious in tone and overly reliant on italics, but what do you expect?

*Bryson horndog levels are currently unknown.
Kimberly
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and interesting. I'm not Larry Flynt's target audience for most of his publications, but I was intrigued by this book when I first heard about it. It exceeded all of my expectations.
Eddie
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book. Lots and lots of information about presidential infidelities an peccadilloes. The book is heavily researched but you would have to go to primary sources
To check all facts out. The chapters on JFK and Jackie and FDR and Eleanor are quite fantastic.
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American Pornographer and Free Speech activist. Most known for publishing Hustler magazine.

Flynt has had several legal battles involving the First Amendment, and has run for public office a number of times.

He ran for president in 1984. He has bipolar disorder and is paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained from an assassination attempt by an radical feminist.