I'm reading a most fascinating book right now, The Other Hollywood. It's about porn and as such, includes the double entendre sub-title: An Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry. Now before you all get righteous on my ass and tell me porn is bad and degrades women and everyone associated with it, let me just say that's basically what the book is about.
There are no happy endings in this book, only survivors. It's a fascinating story, told by those directly involved in the porn industry, on how it started and developed. It's a story about organized crime, too, since the Mob has always had a tight rein on the distribution of porn. It sidetracks into murder and the FBI, and if anything, it gets bogged down on these subjects, especially the FBI's MIPORN investigation in the early 80s, a sting operation that goes awry when one of the two undercover agents goes too undercover. (It amazes me that no one--well, so far, I'm only half-way through the book--doesn't speak the obvious when the one undercover cop does something so colossally stupid it gets almost all of the arrests thrown out of court. Doesn't anyone else think he did this DELIBERATELY?) It also gets bogged down with John Holmes' involvement with the Wonderland murders.
This is a massive book, with over 600 pages and countless people interviewed: actors, actresses, producers, directors, FBI agents, mobsters, journalists, publishers...the list is endless. It's more than a cautionary tale, though. It has a huge DO NOT ENTER sign on it. The book is literally littered with the stars who drank or drugged themselves to death; who died of AIDS; who committed suicide or were killed by the Mob. I'm only at the mid-80s, right when video replaces film and anyone with a camera and a video cassette can make a movie. This isn't a book about titilation or prurient interest. It's a book about what happens to people when they go down the road far less travelled. Some came back. Most didn't. This book is about all of them.