Operating just outside of Houston for 130 years, the Chicken Ranch was probably the oldest continually active brothel in America. Now readers can leam all about it: its long and often lurid history, the countless colorful characters who worked there, were its clients, its enemies, or its supporters.
The book has all the verve and vivaciousness of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the hit Broadway play about events at the Chicken Ranch. It is a ribald, rousing, and witty account of thirteen decades of social change as revealed in the unguarded moments and most personal behavior of people of all sorts -- at their best and their worst.
From its founding in 1844 to its closing in 1974 after a stormy media battle, the Chicken Ranch assumed an almost legendary reputation in the Southwest. It was in the naughty dreams of every Texas schoolboy, and it was part of the naughtier reality of the many politicians who slept there.
Author Jan Hutson provides a close-up view of a gallery of American personalities. There are the madams: Mrs. Swine, Miss Jessie, Edna Milton, and others. There is the sheriff, Jim Flournoy, who fought to keep the Ranch open (and thus keep vice controlled), battling against television reporter Marvin Zindler, who wanted to close it down (while bringing his ratings up). The descriptions of these and other men and women involved with the Chicken Ranch make unforgettable reading.
The Chicken Ranch is a fascinating cross section of American life. It is the enormously human, inescapably humorous story of the habits, hangups, hatreds, loves, and lives of real people. It is not only exciting, intriguing, and entertaining -- it is true.