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Cover image of Running the GauntletHERE AT LAST! After over a decade in the making, Jim Ward’s much anticipated book Running the Gauntlet—An Intimate History of the Modern Body Piercing Movement is now available.

  • Deluxe, large-format, in both SOFT and HARDCOVER
  • Over 180 pages
  • More than 150 COLOR photos!
  • Over 100 photos in black and white
  • Every book ordered through this website will be personally inscribed and signed by the author.

The cover price is $24.95 for the softcover and $49.95 for the hardcover. The prices below include shipping and handling (and tax within the State of California). Books will be shipped via priority mail within the U.S. Please allow two to three weeks for delivery.

When you place your order, be sure to indicate how you would like the inscription to read.

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If you are interested in offering the book for sale in your own shop or studio, click here to send a wholesale inquiry.


The following is an excerpt from the book’s Introduction:


“In a 2003 documentary titled The Social History of Piercing, MTV called me “the granddaddy of the modern piercing movement.” To be honest, I’m not certain where exactly I fall on that family tree, since the movement also has had its godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, and sundry other relatives: people like Fakir Musafar; my European counterpart Alan Oversby, better known as Mr. Sebastian; Sailor Sid Diller; and Tattoo Samy of Frankfurt. It would be more accurate to call me the father of the body piercing industry, making my friend and mentor Doug Malloy its grandfather. All of the early pioneers were, of course, missionaries in their own ways, each extolling the joys of body piercing to receptive people they met, but in my opinion that alone would not have been sufficient to launch a movement. After all, what point is there in creating a market if there is nothing available to service and support it?


“Consider tattooing for a moment. It’s been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the invention of the electric tattoo machine in the late 1800s that tattooing began to spread across cultures and social classes. Something similar had to happen before body piercing could take root and truly flourish. First, there needed to be a universal language, a “menu,” if you will, of common piercing placements. Second, there needed to be a system of techniques that could be easily duplicated using readily available standard equipment and suitable jewelry. Gauntlet introduced all of these things.


“When I opened Gauntlet in 1975, virtually no one but hardcore fetishists and sadomasochism (S/M) enthusiasts were piercing themselves below the neck. People in the mundane world failed to realize that a little piece of metal strategically inserted in certain locations of the body can significantly amplify erotic sensations in those areas and make sex even more enjoyable. It seemed so clear to me that this was something that could benefit anyone. Why should piercing be limited to a select few? With that in mind, it became my mission to let the world at large in on this amazing secret and to let it know I had the ability to make it a reality.”