People have been getting naked in public for centuries. Rising to prominence in the late 19th century, naturism inspired intellectuals, outcasts, and health nuts from Victorian England, colonial India, Belle Époque France and Gilded Age Manhattan to disrobe and write manifestos about the joys of going clothing free. Coated in multiple layers of high SPF sunblock, writer Mark Haskell Smith dives into the nudist world to find out how it all began and whether he is missing out.
Part cultural history and part full-frontal participatory journalism, Haskell Smith publicly drops trouser for the first time in Palm Springs, hikes naked in the Swiss Alps and travels to the largest nudist resort in the world, a hedonist's paradise in the south of France. Along the way he traces how we have become so wary of our own bodies and he catalogues how people have been defying norms and sometimes even laws for the right to bare all.
Mark Haskell Smith is the author of five previous novels, Moist, Delicious, Salty, Baked, and Raw, and the non-fiction book Heart of Dankness. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Vulture. He lives in Los Angeles.