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History of Men's Magazines"The History of Men's Magazines Vol. 1" 
by Dian Hanson
Taschen, 2004
     There have been studies of the history of men's magazines before, but never like this. Dian Hanson undertook the epic task of tracing the history from the early art and film magazines to the modern day porno mags. This history is collected in six massive volumes. Each book is a hefty collection filled with the best art and photography ever featured in men's magazines. Volume One, which we profile here, deals with the birth of men's magazines and takes us through just after World War Two. 
     It starts with French erotica at the turn of the 20th Century. The early magazines featured more painted covers featuring a beautiful Art Nouveau style. They also set the standard for early printed erotica. Then the history moves to the nature and nudist magazines from Germany. They felt they could show more than other magazines allowed because it was all in the name of science and good health. It's from them we get the American nudist fad of the 1950's.
    Along the way, there are the Hollywood glamour magazines, Tijuana Bibles, Pulp Magazines, burlesque mags, and joke digests ending just before the era of Playboy. Hanson talks about everything from the art of the magazines to issues of distribution and censorship. The books feature a good balance between information and eye candy. The books are also a world tour of girlie magazines. You get to see how what was taboo in one country was out in the open (so to speak) in others and how countries influenced one another.
     Volume Two of the series takes the history of men's magazines from Post-WWII to 1959. Volume Three covers the late 1950's and the redefinition of obscenity laws. Volume Four focuses on the 1960's, fetish magazines and Swedish erotica. Volume Five covers the 1970's and the shift to harder material. Volume Six wraps up the series with a look at extreme adult publishing and visits to adult bookstores around the world.
    All in all, this is an amazing look at girlie magazines through the last one hundred years. It takes the time to explore all the different aspects and facets of the history--which is more involved than you would think. Not only that, it gives you enough examples of the content of these magazines to make one happy for days.

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