“Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America” edited by Marc Stein— If You Have Cash to Spare

Stein, Marc, editor. “Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America”,  (3 Volume Set)”  Charles Scribner and Sons, 2003.

If You Have Cash to Spare

Amos Lassen

This three-volume set is an accessible and scholarly reference that provides a comprehensive survey of lesbian and gay history and culture in the United States. It is also very expensive. It has been long needed by researchers, the “Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America” includes approximately 545 articles ranging from short biographical entries to longer essays surveying topics such as the Stonewall riots, federal law and policy, same-sex institutions and AIDS. It is wide-ranging in scope, and complements courses in a variety of disciplines, including history, American studies, literature, psychology, sociology and others. Some of its features include a guide to archival sources, a chronology/timeline, a historical overview essay and a comprehensive index.

The publication of this resource on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) identities, communities, cultures, and movements in the U.S. could not be timelier. It includes more than 500 entry subjects and a wide spectrum of subject areas is covered: people; politics; culture and the arts; academic disciplines and fields; identities, communities, and cultures; geographical locations; law and public policy; economics and labor; sex, sexuality, intimacy, and relationships; religion and spirituality; language, symbols, signs, and concepts; social life, issues, and institutions; and social, cultural, and political processes. More than 400 years of historical developments are chronicled. 

The entries range from slightly less than a page to eight pages in length and include cross-references and sometimes substantial bibliographies. A directory of LGBT libraries and archives throughout the U.S and Canada, a directory of contributors with their primary institutional affiliations and the entries they prepared, and a comprehensive index conclude the set. Some of the subjects covered include Arab Americans, Class and class oppression, Gentrification, Native Americans, Republican Party, Sexual revolutions and Visual art. There are also biographical entries for more than 250 individuals, among them Josephine Baker, Hart Crane, David Hockney, Billie Jean King, Jerome Robbins, Billy Tipton, and Carl Van Vechten. Contributors have maintained a high level of scholarship throughout the set, and entries are characterized by evenhandedness. 

The encyclopedia succeeds in opening up for contemporary readers the complex history of LGBT life.. It should be useful for academic and public libraries. General readers, students, researchers, and members of the LGBT communities alike will find this to be a most welcome resource but one that most will not buy with a purchase price at about $800.



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