Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston's Most Notorious Neighborhood

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Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston's Most Notorious Neighborhood

By Stephanie Schorow

Released Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Prim and Proper Boston has always been known for its stiff character rooted in its Puritan past. So how did this great New England city become home to one of the largest and most notorious adult entertainment districts in the nation? In this expertly crafted history, veteran reporter Stephanie Schorow teases out the issues that gave rise to this controversial neighborhood, giving voice to the colorful players who sought to tame or profit from the sleaze snaking its way through downtown Boston. At turns comic and tragic, Schorow introduces us to the political architects, exotic dancers, wise guys, and residents brought together by the adult entertainment district-a five-acre neighborhood the city engineered to contain the very porno plague it wanted to eliminate. (Meet the nun-turned-attorney who advocated for the First Amendment rights of adult bookstores, a dancer called "the thinking man's stripper," and Boston's unofficial city censor.) For these people and thousands of others who lived, worked, or frequented this notorious area, the Combat Zone is more than a distant memory - it was a life-altering adventure.

A Boston-based freelance writer and journalism instructor, Stephanie Schorow is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books on Boston history: Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down story of Boston's most Notorious Neighborhood; Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits; The Cocoanut Grove Fire; Boston on Fire; East of Boston: Notes from the Harbor Island; and The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston. With co-author Beverly Ford, she wrote The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums and Hangouts and served as the editor of Boston's Fire Trail with the Boston Fire Historical Society. She has worked as an editor and reporter for the Boston Herald, The Associated Press and numerous other publications. She currently writes restaurant reviews for the Boston Globe North section. She currently teaches professional writing at Regis College in Weston, Mass.