The Naughty Nineties

The Triumph of the American Libido


By David Friend

Read by David Friend

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 12, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A sexual history of the 1990s when the Baby Boomers took over Washington, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue. A definitive look at the captains of the culture wars — and an indispensable road map for understanding how we got to the Trump Teens.

The Naughty Nineties: The Triumph of the American Libido examines the scandal-strafed decade when our public and private lives began to blur due to the rise of the web, reality television, and the wholesale tabloidization of pop culture.

In this comprehensive and often hilarious time capsule, David Friend combines detailed reporting with first-person accounts from many of the decade’s singular personalities, from Anita Hill to Monica Lewinsky, Lorena Bobbitt to Heidi Fleiss, Alan Cumming to Joan Rivers, Jesse Jackson to key members of the Clinton, Dole, and Bush teams.

The Naughty Nineties also uncovers unsung sexual pioneers, from the enterprising sisters who dreamed up the Brazilian bikini wax to the scientists who, quite by accident, discovered Viagra.

  • "Vivid. [An] insightful and compulsively readable overview of America's hormonal coming of age."
    Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  • "How I loved this book! THE NAUGHTY NINETIES is a raucous ride through the 20th century's closing decade - an impressive sweep of social and cultural history in an era dominated by instant communication and gratification that presages our turbulent times. David Friend brilliantly captures the social and sexual revolution that came home to roost in the 1990s and left little to the imagination!"
    Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • "This thoughtful and ridiculously entertaining book will surely solidify the '90s as America's most embarrassing decade."
    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Hologram for the King and The Circle
  • " one has put it together quite like this. Written with great brio and a tenacious attention to detail."
  • "This is a rare literary gift: living, breathing history that is also a page turner, written with elegant candor and humor and passion that jump off the page. Amazing. Fabulous. I can't say enough about this book."
    Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
  • "A superb and important book. A guiltily entertaining, impressively scholarly, and often laugh-out-loud witty account of the decade that ended a century -- and millennium -- with more than a few bangs. The Naughty Nineties is a fascinating study of how popular culture became, in the phrasing of one of its many nadir moments, a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty -- and went south from there."
    Christopher Buckley, political satirist, novelist, and author of Thank You for Smoking and The White House Mess
  • "David Friend's lively and authoritative study of millennial vulgarity and sleaze is (among other things) an excellent primer for the Age of Trump."
    Martin Amis, author of The Moronic Inferno and The War Against Cliché
  • "A brilliantly researched and uproariously written romp through the sex-fueled Age of Clinton. Nothing is off-limits: Viagra, Brazilian Wax jobs, home-brewed pornography, Fox News, O.J. Simpson, and the birth of reality TV are all expertly grabbed by the scruff-of-the-neck. An instant American Studies classic!"
    Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian and author of The Great Deluge
  • "Written with wit, zest, and subtlety, this is cultural history at its best. I'd lived through the decade, but not until I'd read The Naughty Nineties did I come to appreciate how boldly, and creepily, those years had foreshadowed the messy and bewildering moment we are in now."
    Nathaniel Philbrick, National Book Award-winning author of In the Heart of the Sea
  • "A saucy, outrageous...delicious new book."
    Amy Sohn, Elle
  • "A witty, comprehensively researched time capsule from an unforgettable age of excess, scandal, and sex."
  • "[A] gossipy retrospective of...the sexual politics as well as the pains and pleasures of the 1990s."
    Library Journal
  • "An exhaustive, insightful exploration of America's obsession with its own horny self."
  • "Compelling. Sprightly. A fresh view that deftly blends cultural and political analysis [to help] solve the central riddle of our current age -- Why Donald Trump?"
    Jon Meacham, TIME
  • "Lively. Irrepressible. Fun."
    The National Book Review
  • "[A] fantastic and wonderfully"
  • "[How] the decade...shaped the ground we stand on today."
    The New York Times
  • "A great book."
    Boston Public Radio Podcast with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan
  • "A true time capsule...impeccably researched...cultural history in the mold of David Halberstam's The Fifties."
    Times Literary Supplement

On Sale
Sep 12, 2017
Hachette Audio


Download the endnotes for The Naughty Nineties


David Friend

About the Author

David Friend, an editor at Vanity Fair, is the author of Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11. The former director of photography of Life, he is also a journalist, curator, and documentary producer of such films as 9/11 (for which Friend won an Emmy), MLK/FBI (which was shortlisted for an Oscar), and Lakota Nation Vs. United States.

Learn more about this author