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Carol Erwin was a madam in the boomtowns of the south and southwest after World War I and later in Alaska up until World War II. Her account of life in America's more rural and lusty bordellos is a straightforward one, good natured and often funny. And Carol Erwin herself emerges as a plucky and likable person. Born into a family of Okies she ran away at fourteen, rode the rails for years around the country (somehow managing to stay intact for longer than one would imagine), had various odd jobs, usually as a waitress in the hash joints, finally became a wine girl in a Wyoming house. But she didn't like the way it was run and decided to open one of her own. At first she just sold drinks but she was a good businesswoman, men liked her, she liked them, she took no nonsense and was on her way in a life which was necessarily itinerant, always exciting. She had a few disastrous love affairs, opened several other businesses, nearly lost a leg in a car accident, met Clarence Darrow and Pretty Boy Floyd (neither of whom were customers), finally opened a brothel in Fairbanks which brought in between $3000 and $5000 a night. But the competition was too stiff, she left, and today at 62 she has no trade but no complaints. Obviously the book lacks the glamour of Polly Adler's revelations and won't have its market value but it's an interesting story.

Publisher: Doubleday