Read Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey by Richard Rhodes Free Online

Ebook Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey by Richard Rhodes read! Book Title: Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey
The author of the book: Richard Rhodes
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Reader ratings: 4.8
Edition: Simon & Schuster
Date of issue: December 31st 1992
ISBN: 0671782274
ISBN 13: 9780671782276
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 771 KB

Read full description of the books:

Oh, hi there. I’ve just noticed you noticing me reading Richard Rhodes’ Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey. By the look on your face, I can tell you’re about to run away, hide your kids, and call the cops. But wait! Just because I have this slim, hardcover volume of erotica, with the two semi-naked people entwined on the cover, doesn’t make me a sex-crazed pervert.

There’s a perfectly good explanation why I have this book! It was a joke, see? One of my Goodreads’ friends noticed my intense admiration for Rhodes’ The Making of the Atomic Bomb (it won the Pulitzer Prize; and no, “atomic bomb” is not a euphemism for an orgy in the Yale science department). This friend told me about the existence of Making Love, and we both laughed about the disconnect between sex and a nuclear holocaust. I bought it as a goof. Seriously! Stop dialing 9-1-1…

I’m an American. Beyond that, I was raised Roman Catholic. (In the one true church, touching yourself doesn’t just cause blindness; it’s a mortal sin for which you’ll burn forever). Thus, I naturally feel the need to open this review with a rationalization for not only purchasing Making Love, but also reading it and telling others the same.

But I’m not going to spend my time here defending myself. I’m not ashamed. Strike that. I’m totally ashamed. But that’s not my fault. I’m a product of a culture (and a religion) that glorifies violence, celebrates crudeness, and has a remarkably archaic view on sex.

(Exhibit 1: Super Bowl XXXVIII. Let’s protect our children from Janet Jackson’s pasty-covered nipple, while letting our children watch twenty-four armored men launch their craniums into each other).

I did buy this book as a joke. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I have to stick to it, or else my wife will beat me senseless with it (and, like I said, it’s hardcover).

However, I read it because I wanted to. Why the hell wouldn’t I? It’s about sex – the thing we all spend inordinate amounts of time talking about, thinking about, fantasizing about, and occasionally doing. Admit it: if you had this book in front of you, you’d read it too.

In typically bombastic, pompous, and self-congratulating style, Rhodes begins his sexual memoir by stating its purpose:

There are war stories and tales of survival, there are political memoirs and confessions of faith, but in all of Western literature there are only a very few personal narratives that honestly and frankly explore the intimate experience of making love – and hardly any to which an author has been willing to sign his name.

Two things stand out in that paragraph.

First, Making Love was published in 1992, so perhaps the statement – “very few personal narratives” – was true when written. Today, of course, that’s just not the case. I know this because after ordering this book from Amazon, their top-secret algorithm started recommending sexual memoirs of every variety. Of course, I immediately bought them all quickly cleared my browsing history.

Second, comparing the “experience of making love” to “war stories and tales of survival” sort of gives you an idea of this book’s tonality. It isn’t fun or funny or lighthearted. It is ponderous, pedantic, overwritten, joyless, and a colossal miscalculation.

Before I go on – with very few nice things to say – I should note that I am a huge Richard Rhodes fan. The Making of the Atomic Bomb is one of my favorite books. The sequel, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, is a wonderful narrative of Cold War tensions. Masters of Death is a terrifying look at the German Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front during World War II.

As you might have guessed, none of these brutally violent tomes prepares one to write a sexually explicit memoir with anything resembling grace or subtlety.

Rhodes structures Making Love as a partner-by-partner, thrust-by-thrust recounting of his sexual exploits. Fortunately, there are only a handful. Unfortunately, that’s still too many.

Rhodes made a crucial decision at the outset – which he fully explains in the Preface – to hide the identity of his partners without remaining anonymous himself. Accordingly, the women in the book do not have names. They are instead referred to by the first letter of their names, e.g., O--, N--, and Y--. He does not describe their personalities, their life stories, even the way they look.

Like I said, this was done for a reason. The consequence, though, is that his partners are no longer women, no longer human. Instead they are a collection of orifices that Rhodes penetrates. He might as well have conquered a string of sex dolls. The effect is really off-putting. No, that’s not the right word. The effect is really, really icky.

Moreover, it is a ridiculous symptom of Rhodes’ vanity. If you really wanted to keep these women anonymous, here’s a freaking tip for you: it’s called a pseudonym, a nom de plume, if you will. You know, like Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain and Stephen King/Richard Bachmann. Or if you like alternative rock personas, Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines.

If you have a pen name, you can then change the names of your partners while still giving them dimensions beyond their genitals. Keeping your name on the book is as much a sign of your ego as telling us that your “penis is 5.5 inches long measured out from the belly, 6.5 inches long measured up from the balls…” Making Love was doomed the moment Richard Rhodes decided this was going to be a Richard Rhodes book.

(And all of this sneakiness for nothing. Somehow, like the American cryptographers of the Second World War, I was able to determine that “G--” was actually Rhodes’ wife, Ginger. So, yeah, the plan had a few flaws).

To say that Rhodes writes in a graphic style is to undersell the highly-detailed and extremely clinical nature of the sex scenes found herein. At times, he utilizes jargon better suited for a medical school textbook. For instance, while describing a woman’s orgasm, he notes her “pelvis fibrillating.” At other times, his descriptions can only be described as laughable, such as his depiction of his own glans as being shaped “like a Second World War Italian soldier’s helmet.”

I know what you’re thinking now: I must have this book.

Rhodes tends to be a bit wide-eyed, writing as though his readers are Puritans fresh off the Mayflower. There’s a gulf between 1992 and 2013; I’ll grant you that. But even in the pre-internet 90s, I don’t think Rhodes needed to give us a play-by-play of the pornography he was viewing on his VCR. Simply put, people were never as sexually naïve as Rhodes keeps insisting (this book, after all, follows The Joy of Sex and Gay Talese’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife and the Kinsey Report). This condescension – explaining fellatio; hell, using the term “fellatio” – is just Rhodes patting himself on the back.

I grant Rhodes this. He is unflinchingly honest. Previously, he wrote a memoir called A Hole in the World recounting his abusive childhood. By all accounts, this is a beautiful work, one that has helped many people who’ve suffered their own traumatic upbringings. Some of those horror stories, along with the situational homosexuality he experienced in foster care, makes its way into this memoir.

Rhodes deserves all credit for not only surviving this ordeal, but for thriving. He went on to Yale, won a MacArthur grant, and deservedly received the Pulitzer Prize. However, the inclusion of these dark days is really quite jarring. When Rhodes says “erotic odyssey,” he means “odyssey” in its literal sense, as in full of the horrors of The Odyssey.

Rhodes loves the truth – or, as he insufferably calls it, verity. I’m just not sure it’s appropriate to include such truths in a book called Making Love with two half-naked consenting adults on the cover. Coming at the start of the book, it put me in an ugly, bummed-out frame of mind. It’s difficult to get hot-and-bothered when you just want to sit in a corner, facing the wall, crying. (There is also a trip to an abortion clinic, smack in the middle of the narrative. It’s a gripping passage – and totally out of place).

Sex is a pretty great thing, all told. Making Love might convince you otherwise. It might be that Rhodes is too damaged a narrator (he seems to be working through his demons on the page), or maybe it’s the heavy-handed prose. Whatever the pathology, there is a certain grimness to Rhodes’ sexcapades. (It actually came as a relief to me when one of Rhodes’ partners finally tells him to back off).

Having never read (I swear!) a sexual memoir before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Having finished this one, I can say that whatever my expectations might have been, they were not met. Sure, my prurient interests were gratified (in the way that only hyper-realistic sex scenes can gratify), but something more important was missing.

I’m no scold. I think consenting adults should do as they please with other consenting adults. I don’t see the end of the world in every fling or hookup or one-night-stand. That said, this book could have used a little love. A little sense that Rhodes had some connection with these women. A little bit of passion. None of Rhodes’ trysts give you even a whiff of the actual transformative powers of sex and love. Instead, they read like a plumber’s manual: this pipe fits into that valve; turn that knob for this result; oh, look at that faucet explode!

I will never be able to revisit The Making of the Atomic Bomb without the vivid reminder that Rhodes often stopped work for marathon masturbation sessions. I will never be able to look at the helmet of an Italian soldier from World War II without thinking about his penis.

Of all the books I’ve read, I’d like to unread this one the most.

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Read information about the author

Ebook Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey read Online! Richard Lee Rhodes is an American journalist, historian, and author of both fiction and non-fiction (which he prefers to call "verity"), including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986), and most recently, Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (2007). He has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation among others.

He is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He also frequently gives lectures and talks on a broad range of subjects to various audiences, including testifying before the U.S. Senate on nuclear energy.

Reviews of the Making Love: An Erotic Odyssey


There are significant drawbacks


Despite the criticism, I liked the book!


A wonderful book, like all the works of this author.


For those who are bored to live

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