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Book Review: Stacked Decks

Stacked Decks - coverI’m ashamed to admit it, but reading Stacked Decks: The Art and History of Erotic Playing Cards is something akin to browsing through your dad’s secret stash of Playboys.

In this nicely appointed book, vintage erotica collector Mark Rotenberg guides us through his playing card collection — with examples ranging in date from the quaint, ample-thighed ladies pictured on 19th century tobacco cards to the hardcore 1970s. It’s no surprise that the coolest cards come from the ’50s and ’60s: apparently the Greatest Generation was also the horniest. The classic pin-up gal get a lot of exposure here, a playful and irresistible vision of female sexuality which continues in the hyper-saturated color photography from that same period. Those are the best, but there are also a lot more varied (and smuttier) cards on display — which are eye-opening, to say the least. If you thought amateur porn started in the Internet era, for example, you’re wrong, buddy.

Stacked Decks is available now from Quirk. Buy at Amazon here.

Stacked Decks - spread

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