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Great Books on Gay History

Being a history buff all my life, when I realized I was gay around 11/12 years old, I began reading anything and everything I could find on gay history; based on the kerfuffle surrounded the movie Stonewall, it's become apparent that many, if not most, young people (and even older people) know very little about gay history. Perhaps frustrated by that, I've taken solace in re-reading one of my favorite books on gay history, "Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II" (1990) by the late Allan Berube; it's a fascinating exploration of how gay men and women experienced the war years, discovering each other and forming a community that laid the seeds for the burgeoning gay rights movement that started after the war, and how the government and the military reacted to gay men and women in uniform.

If there a list of gay history books every person should read, "Coming Out Under Fire" would definitely need to be considered. There are many others I can think of, but I'd like to hear some of your choices.

by Herodotusreply 32Last Friday at 10:40 AM

George Chauncey's _Gay New York_. You're welcome.

by Herodotusreply 109/27/2015

The great lesbian historian Lillian Faderman has a new big book our--The Gay Revolution (I think). Haven't read it, but it looks good.

by Herodotusreply 209/27/2015

Gay history tends to be hit or miss. There are plenty of good books, but all general surveys seem pretty weak.

I like to recommend to male gaylings, "Gay Roots: Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine" edited by Winston Leyland, a 1991 book that is an anthology of gay history,sex, politics, and culture. There are numerous editions, but I like the 1991 for its balance. It has 200 pages of gay history from around the world. Then 100 pages of gay politics, which is contemporary history from the sixties to the eighties. Then gay biography, literary essays, ficition, erotica, and gay poetry from around the world.

Very worthwhile in changing the limited perspectives we get from homophobic press.

by Herodotusreply 309/27/2015

George Chauncey's "Gay New York" is good, but you've probably read it.

Have you read B.R. Burg's eccentric "Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth Century Caribbean"?

I haven't seen it, but "Love of the Samurai: A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality" is supposed to be powerful stuff, suggesting the decline of masculinity in Japan caused a decline in homosexuality

Jonathan Goldberg, editors, "Queering the Renaissance" is interesting to a fairly advanced student like yourself.

Richard Mohr's "Gay Ideas: Outing and Other Controversies" is perhaps the nucleus around which a gay intellectual history will form.

"The Gay Metropolis 1940-1996" by Charles Kaiser is good but very light.

by Herodotusreply 409/27/2015

Let's not forget the dry as dust "Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality Seeking 1971-1995" By Miriam Smith. Fills a void.

by Herodotusreply 509/27/2015

OP here; yes, read "Gay New York" by George Chauncey and loved it; also consider a must-read for any gay person.

Loving the other suggestions; have always been intrigued by "Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition," never got around to reading it.

Some others I've enjoyed reading over the years:

"The Other Side of Silence -- Men's Lives and Gay Identities: A Twentieth Century History" by John Loughery

"On Queer Street: A Social History of British Homosexuality 1895-1995" by Hugh David

"The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government" by David K. Johnson

And John Boswell's two masterpieces: "Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality" and "Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe"

by Herodotusreply 609/27/2015

I would like to echo r6's recommendation of The Other Side of Silence and The Lavender Scare. Both excellent reads.

I also enjoyed Stonewall by David Carter

by Herodotusreply 709/27/2015

Daniel Mendelsohn does an astute critique of Boswell's Same Sex Unions, pointing to errors in Boswell's philological scholarship--suggesting that by the time Boswell did the book he was quite ill and panicked for time. Sad.

by Herodotusreply 809/27/2015

Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A., A Documentary and Pioneering Collection of Turbulent Chronicles - A Startling New Perspective on the Nation's Past

This unique and pioneering work is a comprehensive collection of documents on American gay life from the early days of European settlement to the emergence of modern American gay culture. Hailed by reviewers, it offers a new historical perspective on this once invisible minority and its 400-year battle. Photographs and illustrations.

Offsite Link
by Herodotusreply 909/27/2015


by Herodotusreply 1009/28/2015

"Making Gay History" by Eric Marcus has some interesting interviews and is a very quick read.

by Herodotusreply 1109/29/2015

Boswell didn't go far enough. Mendelsohn is a fraud and a crank who seethes with homophobia, anachronism, and lying about sources.

by Herodotusreply 1209/29/2015

Like all the "experts" Mendelsohn PRESUMES non-eroticism, which is not a feature of any of the eras involved, because it was normalized for him in school. Well, schools have always been careful to shield children from sex, so he has mistaken the modern imperative of non-erotic scholarship for something emanating from the sources, and that is a philological fraud. It's also an attempt to reduce gays again to their sex organs and discount relationships, as though committed platonic partnerships are not gay when in fact, they are.

by Herodotusreply 1309/29/2015

Another vote for "Gay New York" by George Chauncey.

And though it is fiction, "Dancer from the Dance" evokes a particular period in gay history with which many of us are familiar. All of Holleran's books are worth reading. Felice Picano is another worthwhile gay novelist.

by Herodotusreply 1409/29/2015

How dare you make a play for TRANS-ERASURE, OP. All of the books listed in this thread will undoubtedly white wash the significance of historical TRANS WOMEN in history (Joan of Arc, RuPaul, Miss Piggy, and Archduchess Sophie of Austria--- actually all AUSTRALIAN ABORIGYNAL TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR).

by Herodotusreply 1509/29/2015

Lillian Faderman's new book looks good and she's written some wonderful books over the years.

by Herodotusreply 1609/29/2015

I used to know Mendelsohn's mother.

He's a saint based on that alone.

by Herodotusreply 1709/29/2015

The Gay Book of Days came out in the 70s and celebrated gay historical figures both ancient and modern.

The best part was the last two pages with dozens and dozens of initials and hints for one to guess who else was gay:

R.H. American Actor

S.F. American Baseball player

E.L.G. American actress

by Herodotusreply 1809/29/2015

r18 Thanks for prompting me to look on my bookshelves. Here's a few more for the shorter attention span folks:

The New Gay Book of Lists and The Gay Fireside Companion by Leigh Rutledge

A Treasury of Information for the Gay and Lesbian Community, from Alyson Publications

Queers in History by Keith Stern(forward by Ian McKellen)

Lesbian Lists by Dell Richards

Lavender Lists by Lynne Yamaguchi Fletcher and Adrien Saks

by Herodotusreply 1909/30/2015

Let's not forget Martin Duberman, "About Time: Exploring the Gay Past" although he doesn't do himself any favors by including one of his own speeches.

by Herodotusreply 2010/08/2015

"The best part was the last two pages with dozens and dozens of initials and hints for one to guess who else was gay"

Most of them turned out to be pretty accurate, too

by Herodotusreply 2110/08/2015

Who are these two:

S.F. American Baseball player

E.L.G. American actress

Does anybody have the complete list?

by Herodotusreply 2210/08/2015

Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D'Emilio

by Herodotusreply 2310/08/2015

r22 E.L.G is old-timey stage actress Eva Le Gallienne

by Herodotusreply 2410/09/2015

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski

Stonewall by David Carter

Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons

Another Mother Tongue by Judy Grahn

The Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser

Rebels, Rubyfruit and Rhinestones by James t. Sears

Pre-Gay L.A. by C. Todd White

The Gay Militants by Donn Teal (a history of post-Stonewall gay militancy; long out of print)

The Zuni Man-Woman by Will Roscoe (about a 19th century "two spirit", transgender Native American)

by Herodotusreply 2510/09/2015

I think a lot of our would-be historians died in the plague, unfortunately.

by Herodotusreply 26Last Thursday at 6:18 AM

R15 Miss Piggy is a trans? How did I miss that?

by Herodotusreply 27Last Thursday at 6:35 AM

Raw but deftly edited gay oral histories by Boyd McDonald are literary gems. Our Studs Terkel.

by Herodotusreply 28Last Thursday at 6:48 AM

Andrew Holleran's fictional novel "Dancer from the Dance" is a pretty accurate depiction of gay life in New York in the 1970s. Larry Kramer's "Faggots" published the same year is very self loathing and though the details are as accurate the overall feel is not.

by Herodotusreply 29Last Friday at 9:49 AM

Andrew Holleran's fictional novel "Dancer from the Dance" is a pretty accurate depiction of gay life in New York in the 1970s. Larry Kramer's "Faggots" published the same year is very self loathing and though the details are as accurate the overall feel is not.

by Herodotusreply 30Last Friday at 9:49 AM

"Greenwich Village and How It Got That Way" by Terry Miller is an excellent history of GV with an emphasis on its gay history. Miller died of AIDS not long after it was published in the early '90s

This is not the same Terry Miller as Dan Savage's husband..

by Herodotusreply 31Last Friday at 10:00 AM

Men Without Maps - John Ibson The Pleasure Principal - Michael Bronski

by Herodotusreply 32Last Friday at 10:40 AM
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