978-0-8050-3896-5 / 9780805038965

The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives & Gay Identities - A Twentieth-Century History


Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.



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About the book:

The writing of gay history has been a relatively recent invention. Starting with such books as Jonathan Ned Katz's Gay American History (1976), Arthur Evans's Witchcraft and the Gay Counter Culture (1978), and Lillian Faderman's Surpassing the Love of Men (1981), gay and lesbian historians have charted both the presence of gay men and women in the world as well as their influence upon it. John Loughery's The Other Side of Silence builds on this foundation to great effect. Books of gay history (dealing with enormous amounts of new material to interpret) have tended to discuss politics and culture as separate concepts, and the complicated interrelationships between the two have often been confusingly contradictory. Loughery has pieced together--using the work of such historians as Katz, Alan Berube, John D'Emilio, and George Chauncy--a highly readable survey of eight decades of gay male life that knits together the political and the cultural. He is thus able to explain, for instance, how the openly gay career of Tennessee Williams existed during the homophobia of the 1950s, or how the Supreme Court's 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision (maintaining that same-sex couples do not have a right to engage in consensual sex in private) could be made at a time when gay arts and culture were flourishing in America. Loughery is as mindful of the passage of anti-gay laws as he is of the plots of gay novels and developments in gay theater; as a result, he manages to assemble--with wit and intelligence--a complex and illuminating social history of gay male lives of this century. --Michael Bronski

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