This work is written for young people – explicit episodes but with a sobering message. Still, readers of Carlos Gelbert’s work will readily sense that the material comes from an age gone by – despite being in the lifetime of many of us today – a comparatively optimistic time when the West was growing economically, and even welcomed refugees. Here we find that the turmoil gripping the Middle East today was also evident then, in the 1970s, but only in a simmering form, as Saddam Hussein came to power while Lebanese society began to fracture into civil war. The civilian toll was and is great, exploitation in many forms being the outcome.
Nevertheless, the human hunger for companionship and sexual fulfilment remains, its lack of fulfilment being more than evident in these pages. The author successfully negotiated these difficulties, but it is plainly apparent that many did not then and still do not today. The economic decline of our era has increasingly forced people into being sexually exploited merely to survive. Hence the author’s experiences may seem overoptimistic in the light of today’s difficulties but they constitute a warning to us all about a future where jobs are scarce and remuneration inadequate.
Furthermore, it cannot be overemphasized from the episodes recounted in this book about the need for and benefits of self-discipline – exactly the opposite position to that taken in Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization, along with the ridiculing of self-discipline in Theodore Adorno’s The Authoritarian Personality. Their one-sided advocacy of sexual dissipation finds its nemesis here, since what can go wrong far exceeds the possibility for a successful long term resolution unless one understands the larger picture. The author does, and that is why his message is vital for us in Australia today.