“Drag: The Complete Story” by Simon Doonan— Looking at Drag

Doonan, Simon. “Drag: The Complete Story”, Laurence King, 2019,

Looking at Drag

Amos Lassen

Drag is transformation, communication and, above all, exaggeration. We now live in a world where gender non-conformity has become a daily occurrence. Simon Doonan’s “Drag: The Complete Story” shows this increasingly complex world by exploring drag’s journey through the twentieth century.

The book is divided into thematic chapters and it is the first flamboyant and poignant survey of drag culture.  It is not just for fabulous queens and drag enthusiasts, but for anyone interested in gender fluidity and the culture surrounding it. Doonan divides the past and present landscape of drag into nine categories: glamour, art, butch, black, historical, comedy, poster, movie, and radical. Each chapter illustrates how drag queens and kings in those spaces or times periods have shaped drag in some way—or, in the case of black drag queens, according to the author, how they’ve shaped the LGBTQ community at large in a meaningful way.

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