The Government vs. Erotica
The Siege of Adam & Eve

By Jack Hafferkamp, Ph.D.

What the federal government did to Phil Harvey and his company Adam & Eve in 1986 was scary... chilling... intimidating. And that’s exactly what it was meant to be.

The feds wanted to put the sexual genie back in the bottle, and they were perfectly willing to use strong-arm tactics to achieve their aim. Adam & Eve, located in their backyard, Carrboro, North Carolina, was a seemingly perfect target, a thriving mail-order seller of condoms, sex toys and videos. So on May 29, 1986, 37 agents of the United States Department, ignoring local law enforcement, raided the office and warehouse of Adam & Eve.

Headed by Edwin Meese, Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, the Justice Department believed it was its duty to prevent Adam & Eve from providing products that enhance and add enjoyment to sexuality.

It took eight years of fighting and spending by Phil Harvey and his legal team to fend off the federal pinch.

The Government Vs. Erotica is that story. A combination horror story, thriller and memoir, it deserves to be read far and wide because it’s a very clear tale about the abuse of power in the name of morality. It’s a story about what happens when the self-righteous gain control of the institutions of authority and use them for to play political hardball. It’s about fundamentalist fanaticism perpetrated in the name of goodness.

Know a lawyer, journalist, legislator, teacher or minister? Or someone studying to be one of those things. Give them this book. It’s about how government should not act. And it’s about the toll it takes on people’s lives to live through wrong-headed intimidation tactics.

From the Publisher
Harvey's account of his eight-year battle with the Justice Department has been nominated for the Eli M. Oboler Award by the American Library Association as the best recent book devoted to intellectual freedom.

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The Government vs. Erotica: The Siege of Adam & Eve by Philip D. Harvey (Prometheus Books, 2001. ISBN:1-57392-881-X. 296 pages, hardcover, $24.00)

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