978-0-449-90917-1 / 9780449909171

Conduct Unbecoming


Publisher:Ballantine Books



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About the book:

When Randy Shilts's Conduct Unbecoming was published in 1995, it was greeted as the major analysis of homosexuality and the U.S. military to date; this continues to be true. Shilts's collage of historical research, interviews, and U.S. military documents (both public and confidential) portrays in detail the vital role that gay men and lesbians have always played in the armed forces, and painstakingly--and painfully--exposes how homophobic and often irrational government policies have demonized them through lies, witch-hunts, and antigay purges. As he did in And the Band Played On, his documentary history of the AIDS epidemic, Shilts takes large issues and histories and renders them into readable, understandable narratives. In Conduct Unbecoming he has uncovered new information about homosexuality and the military and has woven it together in a seamless fashion that combines the personal and the political in such a vibrant way that the arguments for basic gay civil rights become irrefutable. Particularly interesting is the story of Dr. Tom Dooley, a gay man who became a folk-legend praised for his humanitarian and anticommunist work in the 1950s, while at the same time persecuted for his refusal to hide his homosexuality. Conduct Unbecoming is a milestone in gay history and social theory; compelling, readable, and always illuminating, it is invaluable in understanding contemporary gay and lesbian politics and culture. --Michael Bronski

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