Wanton West by Lael Morgan
Madams, Money, Murder, and the Wild Women of Montana's Frontier

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Providing new insights into women’s struggle for equality, this historical study shows the true story of the women of old Montana. With few career options available in the 19th century, many of the most independent and enterprising women turned to the world’s oldest profession for a lucrative source of income. Author Lael Morgan brings to life the lively and eccentric characters who tamed the West's wildest region from the time of the gold rush to the election of the first woman to U.S. Congress: Chicago Joe, with her addiction to handsome men and high finance; Yow Kum, an enslaved Chinese prostitute; the enterprising, successful black prostitute named Lizzie Hall; and Carmen, a "full blossomed Spanish rose who would just as soon stick a stiletto into your gizzard as stand at the bar and have a drink with you." An unbiased exploration of an open society and an unforgettable time in American history, this work showcases how some of these remarkable characters suffered the fate of disease, violence, and alcohol and drug addiction, while a surprising number prospered.


About Lael Morgan

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Lael Morgan is a journalist whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, and the Washington Post. She teaches media writing at the University of Texas-Arlington and is the author of several historical books, including Art and Eskimo Power and Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush.
Published June 1, 2011 by Chicago Review Press. 320 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Morgan’s subject, improperly treated, could easily devolve into a lascivious catalog, but she has an important larger point: The independence of these women inspired the independence of women who did not engage in the sex trade, and it’s no accident that women had the right to vote and served in ...

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Wanton West: Madams, Money, M...


Wanton West journalist Lael Morgan pulls the world's oldest profession from the shadows and focuses on its activities in Montana, where prostitution generally boomed, save for a few crackdowns, until World War I, when venereal disease—followed by the state's economic decline—finally drove the onc...

Oct 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Wanton West: Madams, Money, M...

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