Synopses & Reviews
When Harvard medical student Alexa Albert conducted a public-health study as the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada, the only state in the union where prostitution is legal, neither she nor the brothel could have predicted the end result. Having worked with homeless prostitutes in Times Square, Albert was intimate with human devastation cause by the sex trade, and curious to see if Nevadas brothels offered a less harmful model for a business that will always be with us. The Mustang Ranch has never before given an outsider such access, but fear of AIDS was hurting the business, and the Ranch was eager to get publicity for its rigorous standards of sexual hygiene. Albert was drawn into the lives of the women of the Mustang Ranch, and what began as a public-health project evolved into something more intimate and ambitious, a six-year study of the brothel ecosystem, its lessons and significance.
The women of the Mustang Ranch poured their stories out to Albert: how they came to be there, their surprisingly deep sense of craft and vocation, how they reconciled their profession with life on the outside. Dr. Albert went as far into this world as it is possible to go some will say too far including sitting in on sessions with customers, and the result is a book that puts an unforgettable face on Americas maligned and caricatured subculture.
"This well-written, non-judgmental, informative book helps to replace ignorance with understanding concerning the lives and attitudes of women involved in legal prostitution, as well as their customers. It could serve as a light at the end of a very long tunnel, and form the basis of both moral and legal discussions about prostitution in the future." M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D.
"The tone is engaging, and some sections are a little raunchy. Written for a popular audience, this is highly recommended for sociology, women's studies, and cultural history collections." Library Journal
"...an enthusiastic defense of the 'working girls' of the famed Mustang Ranch near Reno, who mix feigned pleasure with grim resignation...material, which she processes with a mix of clinical detachment and righteous indignation on their behalf, and all in prose that limps across the page." Kirkus Reviews
In this fascinating study of Nevada's infamous Mustang Ranch, Albert puts a human face on the women who work in America's largest brothel. "Brothel" is a candid and powerful work that examines the realities behind prostitution and tells the stories of America's most marginalized group of women.
About the Author
Alexa Albert, M.D., is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Medical School. She has written and lectured widely on issue of public health and prostitution and was named on of Mirabellas 1,000 Women for the Nineties for her work with Nevadas legal prostitutes. She currently lives in Seattle, where she is completing her residency.