Category Archives: GLBT non-fiction

Bruno Gmunder— New in September

 

New in September

 

 

 

 

Thomas Knights

RED HOT 100

 

 

On the heels of his hugely successful Red Hot exhibition in London (successfully funded through Kickstarter), photographer and filmmaker Thomas Knights creates the ultimate bible for fans of hot ginger men: Red Hot 100. With a truly international feel, the book will contain one hundred flame-haired guys from all over the world, captured topless against the iconic vivid blue background now synonymous with the Red Hot brand. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, the book also holds a mirror up to current perceptions of male beauty and asks the question, Why are there so few ginger heroes or heartthrobs in Western culture? This is sure to change after Red Hot 100!

 


 

144 pages, full colour

Hardcover with dust jacket, 10 ¼ x 13 ½” (26,0 x 34,0 cm)

€ 59,99 / US$ 89.99 / £ 59.99

ISBN 978-3-86787-767-1

 

 

 

 

Louis LaSalle

TWILIGHT OF THE SHADOWS

 

 

Louis LaSalle’s first book, Dawn of the Gods, was the unexpected success of 2013. Twilight of the Shadowsis this bestseller’s successor. LaSalle gained a large audience through the intensity and the genuine straightforwardness of his photography. His works are inspired by classical nudes, which he transforms through a passionate reinterpretation that goes beyond the boundaries of nude photography.

 

 

 

128 pages, full colour, explicit

Hardcover with dust jacket, 8 ½ x 11 ¼“ (21, 5 x 28 ,5 cm)

€ 39,99 / US$ 59.99 / £ 39.99

ISBN 978-3-86787-760-2

 

 

 

 

Spartacus

SPARTACUS INTERNATIONAL SAUNA GUIDE

 

 

The brand-new Spartacus Sauna Guide informs all sauna fans, in 5 languages and 224 pages, about size, prices and opening hours. Services offered, customer profiles, and important features of each venue are also covered. A user-friendly icon system conveys information simply and clearly. Everyone is guaranteed to find their perfect oasis around the world. Whether in summer or winter, our handy guide should be in every travel bag!

 

Introduction text: English/German/French/Spanish/Italian

Information texts about countries: English/German/French

Sauna descriptions: English

 

 

224 pages, full colour

Softcover, 4 ¼ x 7“ (10, 5 x 18 ,0 cm)

€ 13,99 / US$ 23.99 / £ 13.99

ISBN 978-3-86787-796-1

 

 

 

 

Axel Neustädter

GAYMA SUTRA – THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SEX POSITIONS

 

 

In, over and out? Not with the Gayma Sutra! This richly illustrated guide book will help spice up your sex life. More variety means more fun, and the variations are just about endless. Axel Neustädter has tested all the ways to play and found the ones to give you all the pleasure you’ve always wanted. He answers crucial questions about the most exciting sport there is: How to practice for the longest and most intense sex? What are the best positions for masturbation? How can two bottoms have an over-the-top experience together? And what toys can help make it even better? After reading this book, sex will never be boring again!

“The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation?” by Craig A. Rimmerman— The Dilemma in American Politics

the lesbian and gay movements

Rimmerman, Craig A. “The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation?”, Westview Press, 2014.

The Dilemma in American Politics

Amos Lassen

The American lesbian and gay movements have not been around for a very long time yet they have managed to endure searing conflicts over whether to embrace assimilationist or liberationist strategies. This book explores those conflicts—their sources and to what extent they have been resolved and how, if necessary, they might be resolved in the future. Author Rimmerman also takes on “the challenging issue of what constitutes movement “effectiveness” and how “effective” the assimilationist and liberationist strategies have been in three contentious policy arenas: the military ban, same-sex marriage, and AIDS. Considerable attention is devoted to how policy elites—presidents, federal and state legislatures, courts—have responded to the movements’ grievances”.

This is the second and updated edition of the book that was first published in 2007 and we have all witnessed the tremendous changes that have taken place in those seven years in terms of lesbian and gay movements and rights. This edition is thoroughly revised and includes updated discussion of LGBT movements’ undertakings in, as well the Obama administration’s response to, AIDS/HIV policy, the fight to legalize same-sex marriage and overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Rimmerman demonstrates “the limits of both assimilation and liberation as strategies pursued by the GLBTQ movements”. There is an analysis of the core strategies used in the most explosive public policy debates of the last 30 years—AIDS, Gays in the Military and Same Sex Marriage.  If you have ever wondered how  private decisions on sexuality became such a controversial political issue in American politics, you will find the answer here. It is a concise introduction to the development of the gay rights movement. It includes the historical development of the issues, “a recap of the varying political positions, and an analysis of the political and legal processes that led to today’s policies.” Here is the Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations

Preface

1 Introduction to the Core Dilemma

2 The Assimilationist and Liberationist Strategies in Historical Context

The Birth of the Homophile Movement and the Foundations for Contemporary Politics

The Stonewall Rebellion and Beyond

The 1970s and the Challenge of the Christian Right

Conclusion

3 The Conflict Over HIV/AIDS Policy

The Early History of AIDS in the United States

AIDS Policy in The Reagan/Bush Years

Response of the Lesbian and Gay Movements to the Reagan/Bush Years

AIDS Policy in the Clinton/Bush/Obama Years

Response of the Lesbian and Gay Movements to the Clinton/Bush/Obama Years

Conclusion

4 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Policy Perspectives on the Military Ban

Military Integration in Historical Context,

The Early Days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Debates and Policy

Implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

The Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The Case for the Military Ban

The Case Against the Military Ban

Conclusion

5 Jilted at the Altar: The Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage in Historical Context

The Implications of the Marriage Debate for the Lesbian and Gay Movements

The Case for Same-Sex Marriage

The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Conclusion

6 The Movements’ Futures

The Assimilationist and Liberationist Strategies Revisited

Coalition Politics

Barriers to Building Coalitions

Conclusion

Appendix 1: AIDS Timeline

Appendix 2: The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law

Appendix 3: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Christian Right Organizations

Discussion Questions

Glossary

Notes

References

Index

“Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy” by Walter Frank— The Legal Road to Gay Rights

law and the gay rights story

Frank, Walter. “Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy”, Rutgers University Press, 2014.

The Legal Road to Gay Rights

Amos Lassen

Most of remember what it was like in this country to live in fear of public exposure. There was a time when public exposure led to loss of job, blackmail and arrest. Times have changed as have attitudes but what we need to look at is what caused these changes.

Walter Frank gives us an in-depth look at court cases that helped turn the tide for gay rights. What we must remember that for every court case there was a person behind it; Frank tells us the stories of “those individuals who were willing to make waves by fighting for those rights, taking enormous personal risks at a time when the tide of public opinion was against them”.

The real beauty of this book is its accessibility—the complex legal issues are explained to us in language that we can all understand and Frank never abandons the human dimension of the law and the events outside of the courtroom that influence everything. We are looking at fifty years of gay and lesbian history and this book gives us the legal perspective on  events such as the Stonewall Riots, the AIDS crisis, and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As a former litigator, Frank looks carefully at the constitutional issues surrounding same-sex marriage and closely analyzes the two recent Supreme Court cases addressing the issue. Frank is a strong advocate for gay rights but he is also able to give a critique of what he sees and this also includes the gay community as well. The book is comprehensive in coverage and in its explanations of the legal and constitutional issues involved in each of the major goals of the gay rights movement. These are  “a safe and healthy school environment, workplace equality, an end to anti-gay violence, relationship recognition, and full integration into all the institutions of the larger society, including marriage and military service”.  We can not help but be aware of the research involved in writing a book like this and of course Frank’s experience as a litigator gives him a special way to see and evaluate what he sees. He also shows us where we might go from where we are now.

While the right to marry has consumed us of late we cannot forget the other issues that got us to this point. Frank also presents a broad overview of the legal, political, and cultural changes involving gay people over the last fifty years and as he covers virtually every important gay rights legal case, he also brings in the compelling human stories that go with them and represent the “challenges and joys of being gay in America.” To see just how comprehensive this book is have a look at the Table Of Contents:

Introduction

Part I The Freedom Struggle (1945–1992)

1 Isolation, Oppression and Emergence (1945–1969)

2 Stonewall (1969)

3 Invisible No Longer (1969–1981)

4 The AIDS Crisis and Its Legacy (1981–92)

Part II The Struggle for Legal Equality (1993 to the Present)

5 Three Key Developments

6 The Debate Over Gay Rights

7 The Workplace

8 Freedom from Violence; Freedom to Serve

9 The Public School Struggle

10 The Gay Family

11 The Movement’s Critics

Part III The Right to Marry

12 The State Constitutional Battles

13 The Supreme Court Confronts Same Sex Marriage

Suggested Readings

References

Cases Cited

Index

 

“God’s Other Children – A London Memoir” by Vernal W. Scott— World AIDS Day

god's other children

Scott, Vernal W. “God’s Other Children – A London Memoir”, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.

World AIDS Day

Amos Lassen

World AIDS Day often causes us pain and tears for the goodbyes we have had to say to those who are no more. In this new book, Vernal Scott, a black gay Londoner and former head of HIV services gives us a look at the associated pain, stigma, and tears of World AIDS day. The book is shocking in that it exposes of raw prejudice and this is a powerful read. With its 500 pages and 57 reader-friendly chapters, the book starts out in “happy but poor 1930s Jamaica” but the story really begins when the author’s parents move to London in the 1950s.

 There are some very humorous moments but overall this is a serious, mature, and sometimes dark read especially when it deals with “love and loss; sex, sexuality and ‘coming out’; religion and homosexuality; domestic violence and borderline child chastisement/abuse; disease, death and dying; divorce; racism and homophobia; equality challenges at home and abroad; gay/lesbian baby-making and parenting; fathers and family court; and teen depression”. There is even voodoo and the paranormal (Did I leave anything out?) make a spooky yet convincing appearance.  The book is written as a novel but there are no fictional characters or plots. What makes the book such an interesting and fascinating read is that it totally the truly horrific impact of AIDS on both heterosexual and gay communities in the 80s and 90s. We meet and read about the notable English people who had a part and we see the author at the forefront of the then challenge as he describes the period as “a conveyor belt of death and dying.” Scott sees the HIV virus as one of equal opportunity, and the pain it causes as human: not gay, straight, black, or white.

Scott produces the statistics nationally and internationally and we see that 75 million are affected globally and is frightening to realize that we are speaking of people. We read about some of the affected people; it hurts to do so. We read of Scott’s loss of a child and that compounded with the deaths that he had seen caused problems for him. He questions his religion and finds the Bible scriptures to be inhumane.

There are wonderful photographs in the book: Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Gloria Gaynor and one of a speech on AIDS by HRH, Diana Princess of Wales. Scott writes with a passion and if we really want to understand the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black Community of Great Britain this is the book to read. We get Scott’s most intimate experiences both professional and personal as he struggles to answer the call in the early days of the crisis. He shares very painful family losses along the way and his high profile celebrity friends who assisted him in his fight against ignorance and homophobia.

In the 80s & 90s we witnessed countless friends and family members fall to AIDS. It was a time of total indifference from our political leaders were fearful of the disease and hated the gay community. We read this with tears in our eyes but those tears also become anger. This is such an important book and am even more important read. We cannot let these issues die.

“Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice” by Warren J. Blumenfield— Important Issues

warren's words

Blumenfield, Warren J. “Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice”, Purple Books Publishing, 2012.

Important Issues

Amos Lassen

If you have done any reading on LGBT issues then you will recognize the name of Warren Blumenfield. He is associate professor at Iowa State University, has been writing social commentary for many years. This book is a compilation of his best and most important/ essays. Much of what he writes addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues. He also writes about such topics as bullying, being Jewish, the intersectionality of identities, race, religion, and immigration. Dr. Blameful writes about people including Pat Buchanan, Matthew Shepard, Fred Phelps, and Newt Gingrich, and places such as Texas and its school board, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and Poland. Another topics that we see in his writing include higher education, the Girl Scouts, marriage equality, ecojustice, sexual abuse, and scapegoating populations. This is a book that will lead to important discussions not only because the issues are important but they are timely and wonderful for groups who study history, political science, multicultural and social justice education, and LGBT/Queer studies. By reading what is here we can delve deeper into an understanding of what it means to be socially just and socially conscious.

“Terror Has No Diary: Annals of a Gay Jew and His Comrades Behind a Holy Wall in Nazi Europe” by Michael Melnick— The Diary of Kalman Linkimer

terror has no diary

Melnick, Michael. “Terror Has No Diary: Annals of a Gay Jew and His Comrades Behind a Holy Wall in Nazi Europe”, Deer Mountain Press, 2013.

The Diary of Kalman Linkimer

Amos Lassen

There were 7000 Jews living in the Baltic seaport of Libau, Latvia when the Germans invaded it  on June 21, 1941 and there were only 200 still alive when the city was liberated on May 9,1945. Additionally there were two dozen hiding within Libau itself. This is the story about 12 of them. Eleven adults were in the care of Robert and Johanna Sedols who hid them in a cellar behind a false wall constructed with the “holy bricks” of the demolished Choral Synagogue. Here was one child who was being cared for by Otilija Schimelpfenig, a widow. She was raising the child in the secure comfort of her home. Because they were so courageous, the Sedols and Mrs. Schimelpfenig are memorialized as “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem, Israel. How these 12 Jews arrived at their hiding places, and how they endured until liberation, is a remarkable story. It is a story of miracles.

It is the diary of Kalman Linkimer that tells the compelling story of how 11 ordinary people survive the hellish conditions of living in hiding in a cellar for 18 months. Through his diary we get to know Linkimer and the ten others that were with him. We can only imagine the tension these people felt as bombs exploded all around, the water pipe burst and food supplies were minimal.

The characters really come to life here and we get a complex portrait of ordinary people in extreme circumstances, people who are sometimes generous, sometimes not, sometimes loving, sometimes uncaring. The book is beautifully written and a treasure.

“Faggots and the Guillotine”— 56 Pages of Garbage

faggots and the guillotineIvry, Dov. “Faggots And The Guillotine”, Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014

 56 Pages of Garbage

Amos Lassen

Yes, you read the title correctly and no, I do not know what to do with his book. To say that it is offensive is too mild, this book is pure crap. The author says. “Normally no one writes a book unless he thinks it may be interest to at least some readers.

I’m doing this one with the knowledge that there may not be any readers. I’ll put what I have to say on the record in any event.

Once you get past the atheists I’m probably the most anti-religion guy around. My category, if you need a pigeonhole, is heretic.

The subject is faggots. In the past few years liberal politicians and judges have mounted a campaign to promote the proliferation of sexual perversion in the world employing faggots as the wedge. Why? I have no idea but then no one has yet to fully explain tulipomania either. Crazes occur.

The Torah, a book which has been in the possession of the Jews for 3,500 years and is said to express the will of the Supreme Being, classifies engaging in faggotry as a capital offence. Since that is the source of whatever moral values that I drag along with me I am automatically shunted to the nay side of this controversy. What then? As Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” But that is only true if the person wielding the pen possesses the same amount of courage as the person wielding the sword. If you believe strongly in something either you shoot off your mouth regardless of consequences or shut up. If the consequences are that I am reciting a monologue to myself, I am ready to accept that.

 It turns out that the bulk of the resistance to the liberal campaign to proliferate sexual perversion in the world is provided by those with religious beliefs. Here is an opportunity if I wanted to seize it. All I have to do to craft this book in such in a way that I do not offend them — this is called pandering — and I would have a potential audience. But even though, as it is said, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it ain’t going to happen”. All I say is “HUH”?

Here is the Table of Contents

The Liberal Scourge/1

The Iroquois May Yet Rise Again/2

It Looks Like A Union Issue/3

The Deceit Of The Euphemism/4

Faggots Gave Birth To Nazism/5

Knit Away, Mes Chères Amies/6

One reviewer says, “I….I don’t even……I can’t. I ca– I can’t do it! I THOUGHT THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT A PERSON COULD BE SO IGNORANT!!!! THE HUMAN RACE IS OFFICIALLY DEAD TO ME!!”

Yet another says, “This author is the worst kind of anti-homosexual possible. The irony is that he is a Jewish man endorsing the Torah’s judgment that all homosexuals be put to death. He feels that the gay addenda has taken a step too far by calling for equality of marriage. He doesn’t refer to gay people as gay people, rather he refers to them with the “F” word which is the equivalent of calling an African American the “N” word.

This author is a perfect example of what humans should strive NOT to be. Do not support this kind of hate propaganda by buying this product”.

They have said it all and the only thing I can add it that there has been a petition sent to Amazon demanding the book be taken off of the shelves and no longer sold—however, the book is still there.

“Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change” by Arthur Goldberg— Providing False Hope

light in the closet

Goldberg, Arthur. “Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change”, Red Heifer Press, 2009.

Providing False Hope

Amos Lassen

It seems that all religions have some kind of aversion/ restorative therapy for those gay men who do not want to be gay or, better said, whose parents do not want their son to be gay. The new defunct JONAH  (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) was run by Arthur Goldberg (who I suppose is now collecting unemployment or forming another bogus organization). JONAH claimed to be “ a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions, and the Jonah Institute of Gender Affirmation (www.jonahinstitute.org)”. Goldberg was once proud to sat that “Since co-founding the organization over a dozen years ago, through psychological and spiritual counseling, peer support, and self-empowerment, he has helped reunify families, heal the wounds surrounding homosexuality and provided hope”.  I say “Give me a break”. The blurb for the book and I quote says “Goldberg’s book, Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change is a widely acclaimed book in the Jewish world on the topic. He has a J.D. degree from Cornell University”.

Behind the “compassionate” therapy there lurks the mentality of a fool. “If you (sic) have a self identified “gay” son or a son that always argues with his dad, you must read this book. Homosexuality is probably something you “think” you know about. Odds are you know nothing due to bogus influence by the media and Hollywood (sic)”. These are the words of one of the reviewers of this book who quite obviously has no idea of what she is talking about (and has even less an idea about spelling). She further states that the book is “written with Torah based wisdom, this information is mandatory (sic) for any religion”. She further chides us with this, “Do you child a favor, read this book”.

Today we know that any book on restorative therapy that claims to have any connection to Torah is a money making scheme playing on the shame foisted on gay people by certain Jewish communities.

We learn in the Torah that we have been created in God’s image so therefore we must treat all people the same. Psychiatry and Psychology have abandoned the idea of restorative therapy but religion has not been so quick to let it go.

I must say that I found the book to be appalling n every aspect—from writing style to research to conclusions but unfortunately not everyone agreed with me and there are glowing reviews for this pile of garbage on Amazon.com.

 [Goldberg] … “gives me hope: there is healing available for those who seek it, as thousands have! The information he provides builds confidence and understanding and will help open lines of communication. The scariest thing to me as a parent is that this hope is not being publicized and just the opposite is being taught to my children in public school. This book is a must read for every parent! Shine the light of truth on this subject – read this book and share it with as many as you can”. Here we can only wonder where this person has been because this kind of therapy is all bogus and condemned by the medical establishment.

 “It is timely, given ongoing debates that have split U.S. voters as well as the Conservative branch of Judaism. It is thoroughly documented”. Now that Conservative Judaism ordains gay rabbis, which side did the conservative movement take? And I love this, “Goldberg thoroughly discusses the Hebrew Scriptures’ prohibition of lesbian behavior. Most people do not even know that such a case can be made, let alone made convincingly. Second, Goldberg draws a careful parallel between a spiritual path to gender wholeness and psychological steps to gender wholeness. There is nothing like this parallel in print anywhere; it applies to all of the monotheistic religions, not just to Judaism”. Lesbian behavior? Are we reading the same Hebrew bible—there is not a word anywhere in the Torah about lesbians and how they behave. And that parallel that Goldberg draws between a spiritual path to gender and psychological steps to gender wholeness is nothing more than doubletalk and means nothing.

The book, like its author is filled with errors. There was virtually no editing and the entire business is an embarrassment to religion and it should be an embarrassment to the author himself.

 Now here is a testimony for Goldberg: “There are many people (and I am one of them) for whom same sex attractions are an unwanted feature of life in that they incline us to a behavior that is inconsistent with our moral values. My experience in talking about these attractions with therapists has been to be told in a condescending manner that I need to learn to accept these attractions and consequent behavior as part of who I am. It is my beliefs and feelings about these attractions, my moral values, that are the real problem. I am deeply indebted to Arthur Goldberg for standing up and defending my right to seek healing and for shedding some light on the journey to wholeness”. (I’ll bet you can find the person who wrote this note in a gay bar somewhere). He further says that same-sex attractions are morally confusing situations. (Visiting a prostitute and paying for sex is morally confusion to me).

Goldberg explores the political, sociological, psychological, religious, and educational aspects of the gay debate but he does so already with his bias and he finds what he wants to find or else alters something to make it fit his agenda. This is the worst kind of hypocrisy—we are speaking here bout human life. I maintain that Goldberg’s research is shoddy and in truth not research at all. [Goldberg] “gives hope to the vast numbers of Same Sex Attracted men & women who do not want to live a gay or lesbian lifestyle”. This is the worst lie of all.

“Coming Out to Play” by Robbie Rogers and Eric Marcus— No Secrets

coming out to play

Rogers, Robbie and Eric Marcus. “Coming Out to Play”, Penguin Books, 2014.

No Secrets

Amos Lassen

Robbie Rogers was a man with a secret and he was worried that if he shared it, he would lose his family and his career as a professional soccer player. The secret was tearing him apart booth in his personal and professional lives. Even though the world was changing, Rogers knew professional sports were not changing with the world. He felt that he could either be a professional soccer player or a gay man but not both.

Then something happened last year when he was twenty-five years old. He was very close to leaving soccer, a career that he excelled at (he led his team to an NCAA Championship, he won the MLS Cup, and competed in the Olympics). He decided that the time had come to tell the truth. He was not rejected as he feared he might be. Instead he was embraced with love by family, team, fans and friends.

In his book he takes us on his journey. We see him as a terrified teen who later came out of the locker room closet as a proud professional gay soccer player. He also embraced himself with his new identity as a role model and champion for those who struggling with their secrets. Here we see how those secrets keep is from living out our dreams.

 “Robbie Rogers started playing soccer at the age of four. He has played for the Columbus Crew, the U.S. Olympic national team, and Leeds United in the U.K., and currently plays for the L.A. Galaxy. Rogers is also co-owner of Halsey, a menswear brand, and is a cofounder of and ambassador for the Beyond “it” campaign. He lives in Los Angeles.

 Eric Marcus is the author and coauthor of several of books, including Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times–bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis”.

“William Alexander Percy: The Curious Life of a Mississippi Planter and Sexual Freethinker” by Benjamin E. Wise— A Queer Plantation Owner, Poet and Memoirist

william percy

Wise, Benjamin E. “William Alexander Percy: The Curious Life of a Mississippi Planter and Sexual Freethinker”, The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

A Queer Plantation Owner, Poet and Memoirist

Amos Lassen

 William Alexander Percy (1885-1942), was a queer plantation owner, poet, and memoirist from Mississippi. He is best known as a conservative apologist of the southern racial order but here author Benjamin E. Wise tells us so much more about him and we learn that was also a cultural relativist, sexual liberationist, and white supremacist. He was a member of a prominent family that had a troubled history. Percy had an elite education and he was a soldier during the First World War. He showed civic leadership during the Mississippi River flood of 1927 and he mentored writers Walker Percy and Shelby Foote, and the wrote and published his own autobiography, “Lanterns on the Levee” one of the first full length books I read as a child. Wise puts Percy’s life and his quest for meaning into the larger context of the Deep South and he also shares Percy’s experiences in the gay male world of the early twentieth century with us. It is interesting to see how these disparate worlds came together.

Having been a Southerner (born and raised) until quite recently, I understood Percy’s mind here. On the South we lives in two distinct and different worlds. It is important to understand that Percy was born into a prominent family—if he had not been, his life would have been totally different. People from the South remain Southerners their entire lives, regardless of where they might live. But a lot of the South depends upon who you and your family are. Wise gives us a Percy who is an attractive, glamorous figure for a gay readership. Indeed he is/was.

As an undergrad, I was a history major and in one of my courses on The New South, we were told that Percy’s “Lanterns on the Levee” was required reading and so now a bit older I read it for the second time and as I did I realized why this book was important. We were to recognize and understand the struggle in post-Reconstruction South between the old or Bourbon whites and the new South force of demagogues who tied their hopes to racial fears. Now with this new biography, everything about this becomes crystal clear. Percy writes of his sexuality but in very veiled terms and now Wise has dared to say what Percy dared not to say. He gives us evidence of Percy’s homosexuality by sharing his letters, his poetry and his friends. In university this aspect of Percy was never discussed and it could be because it was a different time and my professor was a gay male. He probably felt that addressing it would pull him out of the closet as well (although we all knew he was gay but it was never spoken of).

Wise gives us a gorgeous book that challenges us. Percy was a complex man and writer Wise has taken him apart. He leaves us with the very core of the man, a man who lived in the margins of a society that was changing rapidly.