The History of Playboy and its Legendary Founder – Hugh Hefner never authorized any biography to his name, but trusted TASCHEN with his only illustrated coming-of-age story, a huge, six-volume edition for which he personally curated hundreds of unpublished pages from his own scrapbook, as well as some of Playboy’s spiciest centerfolds and finest writing.

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Hefner began publishing Playboy from his kitchen in 1953. With its candid shots of women and open discussion of sex, it helped transform social and sexual mores in the United States, at a time when states could still legally ban contraceptives. The magazine was also a pioneering intellectual force, championing gay and civil rights and regularly publishing leading writers including James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac. Its trailblazing interviews were at the very forefront of the social, cultural, and political agenda and included Martin Luther King Jr., Fidel Castro, and The Beatles’ John Lennon. It was this facet of Playboythat gave the leggy Bunnies a run for their money—and elevated it above, as famously coined by Tom Wolfe, “a one-handed magazine.”

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This is the history of Playboy and its legendary founder. Hugh M. Hefner presents an illustrated autobiography with chronological highlights from Playboy’s first 25 years. His personal life and career—from cartoon-drawing childhood to astonishing success with Playboy—are revealed in the most intimate portrait ever.

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This sumptuous six-volume anthology celebrates the decadence, sophistication, and wit of the original men’s magazine and its creator. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy highlights the extraordinary years from 1953 to 1979, with a selection of each era’s spiciest centerfolds and writing by literary icons Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, and Ray Bradbury, as well as some of the most important Playboy interviews, including Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Richard Nixon, and Roman Polanski.

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A wealth of never-before-seen ephemera from Hefner’s personal archives includes original artwork, cartoons and correspondence, and 700 pages of autobiographical text about his youth, military service, early career as a cartoonist, numerous girlfriends, and eventual success with Playboy. A vast selection of personal photos—many previously unseen—include behind-the-scenes shots from the Playboy Mansion, Playboy Clubs, and the Big Bunny jet.

 

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