“Out in the Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier” by James Wharton— Life in the British Army

out in the armyWharton, James. “Out in the Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier”, Biteback Publishing, 2014.

Life in the British Army

Amos Lassen

James Wharton joined the British army as a way to leave the countryside of Wales. He had a secret and he needed to find a way to tell his fellow soldiers that he was gay. This is his story from youth to adult and a memoir of his life in the Royal Army.

Wharton trained to become a cavalry trooper in the Blues and Royals, the men that escort and guard the reigning monarch and who become the object of tourists with cameras. The Blues and the Royals are also deployed like everyone else in the British military. Wharton was sent to Iraq and while there he was able to summon the courage to come out. The consequences of this were both good and shocking and he writes of them here with total honesty. The result is one of the most satisfying books that I have recently read and I laughed and I wept as I read. This is a tale that reflects changing times as well as an accurate account of attacks by rockets, unbelievable heat and dangerous scorpions. While this is a story of modern times and how they have changed there are also things here that could have been written hundreds of years ago. It is also a coming-out story, a look at a gay wedding and a read about a boyfriend who runs off with a vegan. We feel Wharton’s love for his queen and for his country and, of course, for himself. He tells us of his husband and his family as well. Here we see a boy become a boy and read of peace and war. This book could not have been written had we not had the changes of the way we now view the LGBT community and Wharton is a shining example of a man and a hero. We also see how the British army has kept up with the changing times.

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