Cover: Sex in the Heartland, from Harvard University PressCover: Sex in the Heartland in PAPERBACK

Sex in the Heartland

Product Details


Print on Demand

$36.00 • £31.95 • €32.95

ISBN 9780674009745

Publication Date: 10/31/2002


304 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

17 halftones, 6 cartoons


Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

[A] vivid reminder of just how national and chaotic the events we call ‘the sixties’ really were… Bailey’s exploration of the sexual revolution offers a subtler sense of the underlying forces of that era, which unified even while dividing a nation and, ultimately, the world.—Tom Engelhardt, The Nation

[Beth Bailey’s] applied research here is interesting, imaginative and compassionate, and the final treat is that Bailey is a very good writer. Sex in the Heartland is simply a fascinating read. I’m sorry I can’t call her up and congratulate her on this book in person… [This book is] beautifully shaped, carefully thought out, a treasury of useful information.—Carolyn See, The Washington Post

One of the great strengths of this book is Bailey’s ability to make local characters, institutions and fights vital and compelling, all the while keeping an eye on the broader issues at stake. She gives us a vivid portrait of one university town in transition and a case study for U.S. social history. A cast of local characters comes alive… Virtually every chapter has surprising, subtle turns in which Bailey’s thesis of historical paradox and unintended consequences is amply demonstrated.—Maureen McLane, The Chicago Tribune

Published by the prestigious Harvard University Press, the book suggests that out-of-the-mainstream states such as Kansas actually were on the cutting edge of the nation’s sexual revolution during the early 1960s.—Matt Moline, The Capital-Journal [Topeka, KS]

[Bailey] points out that those who claim the radical nature of the [sexual] revolution may be surprised by just how deep-seated and mainstream the origins of many of those revolutionary changes were.—Philip Godwin, M.D., The Lawrence Journal-World

The book’s greatest strength is its delineation of ‘social and cultural changes’ as effected by watershed events (panty raids, the advent of the Pill, birth control clinics, co-ed dorms, coffee houses, and underground newspapers); [and] local and national institutions (which provided moral direction and financial and social support).—Jay A. Gertzman, American Historical Review

Bailey’s account of the sexual revolution in Lawrence, Kansas is a rejoinder to American critics on the right who continue to see this process as something imposed on ordinary people by bohemian intellectuals and sex radicals located on either coast, and not as a phenomenon integral to America’s ‘heartland.’ In Bailey’s account, the sexual revolution was a grassroots movement happening in any number of college towns across the USA, and created unwittingly by ‘people who had absolutely no intention of abetting a revolution in sex.’ Bailey argues that the replacement of moral with therapeutic frameworks for understanding sexual and emotional problems undermined any remaining moral consensus by offering non-punitive judgments on homosexuality and other forms of deviance. Unnoticed developments like the reform of parietals were far more important, in Bailey’s reading, than the pill or the counter culture… The fact that Bailey’s attention is directed towards the less renowned, everyday sources of sexual revolution makes this a valuable book.—H. G. Cocks, Journal of Contemporary History

Bailey examines the 20th-century ‘sexual revolution’ as it played out in the midwestern college town of Lawrence, Kansas… Bailey is especially perceptive on the ambivalent and conflicted relationship of both the feminist and gay rights movements to the sexual revolution. She also has strong sections on the birth control pill and other moremundane but long-lasting changes in American sexual culture… [A] fascinating and impressive book.—K. Blaser, Choice

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Photograph of the book Fearless Women against red/white striped background

A Conversation with Elizabeth Cobbs about Fearless Women

For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the work of Elizabeth Cobbs, whose new book Fearless Women shows how the movement for women’s rights has been deeply entwined with the history of the United States since its founding. Cobbs traces the lives of pathbreaking women who, inspired by American ideals, fought for the cause in their own ways