An eye-opening guide to the American LGBTQ+ community and its history in some surprising places.

OUR GAY HISTORY IN FIFTY STATES

A sweeping reference volume about LGBTQ+ people, institutions, and lore from all over the country.

Stout, a Minneapolis employment attorney and community organizer, surveys the LGBTQ+ community in every state—and in U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico and Guam—including red state heartlands as well as blue state urban enclaves. Each brief chapter features photos and lavish illustrations of people and places by artists Bye and Écija and contains paragraphlong entries on notable people, living or dead, who were born in each state; local cultural fixtures, such as bars and bookstores, pride parades, and advocacy organizations; and historical milestones, including ordinances and statutes. The book is, in part, a kind of Who’s Who in LGBTQ+ America, saluting luminaries such as Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, but there’s also plenty of less-sung writers, artists, activists, and businesspeople. For example, there’s a veritable roll call of pathbreakers, such as Anchorage, Alaska, assembly member Felix Rivera, “one of the first two gay men ever elected to the Alaskan government,” and Reed Erickson, “The first transgender person to earn an engineering degree from Louisiana State University.” Stout unearths some intriguing historical figures, as well, including Michael Wigglesworth, a 17th-century Puritan minister whose diary reveals his torment over his attraction to male Harvard students; Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, a lesbian couple in early-19th-century Vermont; and Joe Monahan, a transgender miner and cowboy on the Idaho frontier. (The author’s self-described “speculation” about Abraham Lincoln’s sexuality is a bit of a stretch, however.) Stout unsurprisingly finds a rich trove of lore on the LGBTQ+ community in New York and California, but he also helpfully discovers stories in places such as Thurmond, West Virginia, “the smallest town in the U. S. to pass an LBGTQ+ anti-discrimination ordinance.” Overall, Stout’s encyclopedia-style prose is workmanlike and never lyrical, and his choice of entries feels somewhat haphazard. However, casual readers, students, tourists, or new U.S. residents trying to get their bearings will find this to be a useful sourcebook—one that demonstrates the LGBTQ+ community’s deep roots in American soil.

An eye-opening guide to the American LGBTQ+ community and its history in some surprising places.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63489-257-5

Page Count: 408

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

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ON JUNETEENTH

The Harvard historian and Texas native demonstrates what the holiday means to her and to the rest of the nation.

Initially celebrated primarily by Black Texans, Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, when a Union general arrived in Galveston to proclaim the end of slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy. If only history were that simple. In her latest, Gordon-Reed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and numerous other honors, describes how Whites raged and committed violence against celebratory Blacks as racism in Texas and across the country continued to spread through segregation, Jim Crow laws, and separate-but-equal rationalizations. As Gordon-Reed amply shows in this smooth combination of memoir, essay, and history, such racism is by no means a thing of the past, even as Juneteenth has come to be celebrated by all of Texas and throughout the U.S. The Galveston announcement, notes the author, came well after the Emancipation Proclamation but before the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Though Gordon-Reed writes fondly of her native state, especially the strong familial ties and sense of community, she acknowledges her challenges as a woman of color in a state where “the image of Texas has a gender and a race: “Texas is a White man.” The author astutely explores “what that means for everyone who lives in Texas and is not a White man.” With all of its diversity and geographic expanse, Texas also has a singular history—as part of Mexico, as its own republic from 1836 to 1846, and as a place that “has connections to people of African descent that go back centuries.” All of this provides context for the uniqueness of this historical moment, which Gordon-Reed explores with her characteristic rigor and insight.

A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63149-883-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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