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Amsterdam Exposed

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Member Reviews

Intriguing take on an inviting, intriguing city. Learned a lot and really want to travel there. I found it a compelling read.

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Thank you de Wallen Press and Netgalley for an arc of this book.

Having never travelled to Amsterda, yet hearing loads about certain parts of this city I was fascinated to hear the authors view from his travels In Previous years.
An interesting read on the city based on the authors views.

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I liked the book of the authors journey to Amsterdam to spend a semester continuing his law studies, and also to get material for a book he had been wanting to write, since his first visit there as a young man. He wanted to write about the red light district in Amsterdam, and find out what it was like for the girls behind those windows, and how they got there.
I liked the story of his time there, the people he met and his daily life with friends and trying to research for his book.
He knew he could not get too involved with the women he tried to interview, but that kind of backfired, in that none of them would give him the time of day, as that was something not of interest to them, no money to be made, meaning no business. He finally had a breakthrough when he met Emma, and she seemed open to giving some information, after a lot of back and forth short encounters he finally got his chance at an interview.
Through this whole process he and Emma became friends and he even fancied himself caring for her, and she for him.
I guess in a way he got what he wanted with that interview on the last day he was in the Amsterdam, but I don't know if this was what he intended having only the opinion of one prostitute and not many to make comparisons on why they chose to enter and stay in this field. Emma's life story was a hard one and I think he probably did make a difference in her life.
It was a well written and interesting story.
I would like to thank NetGalley and De Wallen Press for the ARC of this book.

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When I visited Amsterdam for a conference in Y2K, I was astounded at the number of people riding bicycles. I felt like I was taking my life in my hands just to walk a block. The bicycles have the right of way there and there were hundreds of them near the station. After making my way along to the tram, I was taken by the beauty of the city: the canals and those tall narrow houses with decorative roof lines. The most shocking to me was the red light district that our group of scientists stumbled into one evening trying to find our way home after having dined out. Seeing the rows of picture windows with prostitutes in each one, flirting with the men that came close to their window, trying to entice them to come in for a visit, was exactly as I had heard it was, but experiencing it for myself, was actually quite shocking. One can't see that without thinking, "Why would any women choose to do that for a living?"

That question is what drove the author of this book to spend months trying to get just one interview with one of these prostitutes. The book tells more about the difficulties of doing research for a book, than the prostitutes of Amsterdam, It should be apparent that no one would actually want to talk about the situations that placed them in this position, whether it's legal or not. The author managed to become acquainted with one of the prostitutes early in his quest, and he became friendly with her, but the interview he desperately wanted and she had promised, kept being postponed.

The author managed to draw me into his quest, let me experience Amsterdam again as it was when I was there, and kept me reading constantly. It couldn't put it down. I experienced all of his excitement and his disappointments. It took this author 18 years to write "Amsterdam Exposed", but it was an excellent read.

I received a free e-copy of #AmsterdamExposed from #NetGalley for an honest review.

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Basically this dude went to Amsterdam wanting to write a book about the woman in the red light district. But according to him-he is totally different than the other dudes hanging out there. He picks a girl and is obsessed-they have a "connection" and she is "different' than the other girls. Of course since he is different, he won't pay her-but he does buy her gifts.

This books is about 200 pages but it took me a long time to read. I just couldn't get into it. I wanted to roll my eyes at the author. I did add an extra star for the last section of the book. Spoiler alert-she is different because she lets him into her world. I enjoyed hearing her story way more than his.

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I didn't finish this book -while I understand this was a memoir, there no real story to the book and it was very dull

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I picked up this book because of its beautiful cover. This should be a good lesson to me to stop picking books based on their covers. I hate being negative but I didn't like Amsterdam Exposed. I couldn't get into it and at some point started skimming, just to be over with it. The story wasn't engaging. It didn't keep me interested. And this has been a problem with many bios: a lot of authors just don't know how to write interesting biographies. The author told about dull and mundane things, but a more skilled author would've written these same stories in a much more interesting way. Biography is a hard genre and not everyone can write it the right way.
I'm very grateful to the publisher for the ARC and i wish the author all the best.

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This was a pleasant book - well-written and thoughtful. I didn’t however find the characters or their situations as interesting as I would have liked.
My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.

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If you're interested in the self-important, arrogant musings of an overprivileged American male, this is a great book. Otherwise, don't bother.

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The book was... dry. I really tried to enjoy this as Amsterdam is one of my favorite places full of life, color, and experience, but Wienir made it seem bland. I am giving this 4 stars.simply because I was able to complete the book as disappointing as it was.

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This book gives a sharp, brilliant eye to detail. The author gives us a take on one of Europe's most discusses places: The Red Light District. The detail in this novel is told via names of streets, cafes, and fully descriptive details of each place, taking us on the journey along David as he recounts his time spent there.

This memoir is truly groundbreaking and one of its time. David breaks through what we think we know of this place and shows us what it truly is. This famous tourist attraction is not just sex and neon-lit streets but rather one full of pain and heartbreak. David lifts the veil and shows us the lives of the women that work here and what they endure to survive. 

One questions how can such a place be so dark when its so brilliantly lit. When the reader travels with David in this book we are pulled from our comfort zones as we wish to pull through the novel and help the women in this district from such a horrible fate.

This memoir truly is evocative. This emotional story is one heck of a ride from start to finish. I normally don't read many memoirs but this one fascinated when I saw the cover and saw the description. The cover to me speaks of the memoir itself. This cover is beautiful and captivating from the outside but once you get inside the cover (to the actual story) it is heartbreaking and emotional, much like what David describes The Red Light District to truly be. Beauty on the outside but at closer look it is full of secrets, heartaches and so much more. 

5/5 stars from me.

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This was actually a pretty decent book. I enjoy reading these types of books but up until now, my interest has lain only in London. A worthwhile change of scenery and highly recommended

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I’m just going to jump right into it with this one. I didn’t like this book. At all.

I was beyond excited when I was accepted for this ARC, mainly because I’m Dutch and I love anything that will take me back to the canals in Amsterdam. But the author truly seems to have little knowledge of the Dutch and their culture, and that kind of ruined it for me. Especially when your book is titled Amsterdam Exposed. So, despite the author’s ignorance and at times, disgust, toward Dutch people, I want to move on to the writing.

The writing is not only boring, but the story itself is static. I’ve never read a more dry account of a man’s thoughts and perspectives. I truly don’t even know what the point of this book was supposed to be? I feel like a book on the Red Light District is a great idea and could be amazing if executed well, but this was so biased, anecdotal, and basically without any conclusion. Also, the author showed no respect for women or prostitution and had a really warped perspective of basically everything. He also falls into a unrealistic “love” with a prostitute, harrasses her, psychoanalyzes her, and leaves her high and dry. What a douche.

I don’t even want to think about this book anymore.

I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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David Wienir has a way with words. His Amsterdam Exposed is easy and pleasant to read.

Repeatedly, he asks what and why it is that women who make or made money by selling their bodies are seen less than humans. In society, it seems not abnormal to make disparaging comments about prostitutes or sex workers.

Too bad he is not that persistent when it comes to people (exclusively men in this book) who pay to have sex, but who are not regarded with slander. Who don't have to deal with contemptuous behavior.

He throws facts and figures around like people feeding the pigeons at Dam Square. Unfortunately, when referring to the red light district De Wallen, he narrows his storyline down to anecdotal information. And even though part of his story is heart breaking, David Wienir fails to reproduce statistics regarding human trafficking, slavery and underage sex workers in this story.

That said, I really enjoyed Wienir's description of Amsterdam at the end of the last millennium. Most of it is accurate and apart from the serious subject it was funny and lighthearted in a good way.

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I found this to be a rather superficial and sentimental view of a complex city and subject. Although well-educated, and not particularly young, Wienir as the narrator comes across as immature, both in the stories of his student life in Amsterdam and his relationship with Emma, the only sex worker he interviews. His attempts to turn his limited experience of the city and 'Dutch life' into a travelogue do not come off at all well, but that's perhaps understandable as he spent his time there in a very small group of people, behaving much like a tourist only living in Amsterdam to attend an occasional lecture. As 18 years passed between the events of the book and its publication, it feels like he is viewing the whole experience through rose-tinted spectacles. It doesn't really work as a tale of the city (his social/cultural life consists of getting stoned) or as an exploration of the conditions faced by local sex workers (he only talks to one and doesn't do any research into the subject other than hanging around the Red Light District). The story does have a heart, and the epilogue is touching, but as a view of the subject and of the city, it is sorely lacking.

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I wrote a long review of this on my blog, but I'd rather not paste it here because it gets quite rant-y. In short, I was disappointed by the lack of actual research that went into covering what could have been a really fascinating subject, and even more disappointed by the author being totally unaware how horribly he comes across.

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Almost twenty years in the making is Amsterdam Exposed before author David Wienir finally presents his story of the renowned Red Light District, where tourists “come for the weed, stay for the hookers.” Nonetheless, Wienir makes it easy to be drawn into turn-of-the-millenium Amsterdam, as he spends his Thursdays studying international law at Vrije University and his six-day weekends trying to get window girls to talk to him. Amsterdam Exposed is an alluring memoir giving a glimpse down the streets illuminated by red lanterns, as well as into the man who teaches respect for the women who work there.

Wienir opens his memoir having just arrived in Holland for a fall semester studying international law abroad. Wienir brings with him an ulterior motive to write a book about the Red Light District, inspired by a prostitute in Reno who told him that “people forget we’re human,” a year and a half prior. Over the next four months, Wienir sets off to find prostitutes willing to help him with his book, and keeps a code for himself: never pay a prostitute to talk, and never sleep with one. He’s turned down by every woman he encounters except for two, only one of whom actually comes to help Wienir.

Emma is a twenty-five-year-old prostitute from Estonia. She lives two lives in that she does not allow her work life and her personal life to overlap. When Wienir meets Emma in the District, Emma is interested in befriending him, but does not readily talk to Wienir about her work. Wienir devotes time to building Emma’s trust in himself, and eventually reaches Emma while unknowingly invoking change in Emma’s personal outlook.

Wienir actively writes in a voice that weaves the then-current state of Amsterdam with his own story of his time spent. He creates rich and descriptive settings that shine on Wienir’s professional background, effortlessly leading the reader to think of Wienir’s voice as a lawyer in the future casually telling his story over the wining-and-dining of his own law associates. Amsterdam Exposed confidently takes a risqué topic out of a captivating environment and places it in one that is approachable, adventurous, and thought-provoking.

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I liked the cover.

That was the start of this reading experience for me. When will I learn?

I tried to like this book. It started off promising, but the truth is that if I hadn't committed to being a blog tour prarticipant, I wouldn't have finished reading it. That said, I'm glad I did because it confirmed for me that this memoir is a testament above all, to the fact that sometimes abuse (unintended or otherwise) is packaged as love, and consideration. It's marketed as an unusual love story among many things.

I'm uncomfortable with so much of this book and it's not because I lack an open mind. It's judgmental. The author uses the term "unhinged" to define a person within the pages. A fact I found fascinating due to the author overreacting on a large scale to a cookie situation. In yet another scenario, this self-described optimist purchases a necklace for a sex-worker who he would like to interview for his book, only to toss the necklace in the river when she fails to show (assuming the worst), and then he repurchases the same necklace when their paths reconnect. These were only two of the multiple shining examples that reveal the difference between the author's self-image and the person his actions describe.

I cannot recommend this title. I can't encourage people to support dangerous behaviours. No, I'm not talking about paying for sexual services, or the ingestion of drugs with legal status. I'm more concerned that the author felt it acceptable to pressure Emma to share her traumatic past, acknowledging that she needed to be strong and even found it necessary to take a break from the conversation. He continues to pelt her with questions that are often loaded with negative connotations and yet more judgment. I was horrified that he describes this interaction as caring, love, bonding, when to me the scene was far more harmful and destructive and would have been far safer for the health and wellbeing of Emma, if it had been conducted with a trauma specialist within a safe environment. I am still in disbelief that what the author viewed as two human beings sharing an intimate experience is clearly and unapologetically his wrenching information from her for one sole purpose. His book.

That's ultimately the take away of this read. Harmful and horrible behaviour towards others, believing himself to be of higher moral calibre and thus experienced to "save" those around him. All of this, and more is somehow acceptable because it's all about the book.

There are many books that deal with Amsterdam. Read one of those. Read any of those. This book can't even be redeemed as a guide to Amsterdam since much has changed since the era within these pages some 18 years ago. I did like one thing. The cover. I really had hoped to be able to share a positive review for my stop on the blog tour but I can't love them all.

P.S. I truly hope wherever she is, Emma has found happiness and peace in life.

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I really didn't like this book. An American man comes to Europe- there is nothing interesting about this, but I was hoping to find a different take on Amsterdam, being one of the most beautiful European cities. The writer introduces us a very uninteresting tale of 'how a prostitute influenced him to write about them' in the start. Honestly I found his look at the whole subject of prostitution very superficial. It was irritating enough for me I quit reading this halfway through.
It's definitely not suitable under 18's as most reviewers already pointed out. I found it boring and uninteresting. There is much more worse happening in USA or anywhere else in the world, so the book's title isn't really exposing anything you don't already know. The whole thing felt a bit tabloid-like to me.

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Forget Frommer's or Berlitz, Amsterdam Exposed reads part tour guide, mostly social commentary in the author's memoir of his time spent in Holland as a college student, as he tries to collect material for his latest book he wants to write. The author encounters a colorful cast of characters and becomes educated on the myriad of lifestyles and customs in the European city. The author does finally get his interview from a subject who works in the red light district; they develop a bond bordering on tentative friendship that deepens as they develop trust. The author does a good job of pulling the reader in and identifying with him in his day to day routine. The reader has to be very open minded with the subject matter in order to grasp the message of his story. I hope Emma's story truly had a happy ending and she didn't return to her former lifestyle.
I received a galley/ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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