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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681375786
Pages: 320
Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Nell KimballHer Life as an American Madam, by Herself

by Nell Kimball, edited and with an introduction by Stephen Longstreet

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“Looking back on my life, and it’s the only way I can look at it now, nothing in it came out the way most people would want their life to be lived. And while I began at fifteen in a good house with no plans, just wanting as a young whore to hunker on to something to eat and something good to wear, I ended up as a business woman, becoming a sporting house madam, recruiting, disciplining whores, running high-class places. Always wondering, too, why it had happened just that way. Now I can say, if I ever had me any remorse, I never had any regrets.”

So begin the remarkable reminiscences of Nell Kimball. From her beginnings as a young hooker in St. Louis, to life as a madam in New Orleans, wide-open San Francisco, and back again in the polite soft-spoken corruption of New Orleans, Kimball recounts her own American success story while training a knowing eye on America at large. With its down-to-earth, straight-shooting American eloquence, this shrewd, uninhibited, and frequently comic autobiography, as edited by Stephen Longstreet, reads like a cross between Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Bob Dylan’s Chronicles.


A remarkable book by a remarkable woman.
The New York Times