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A Queer History of the United Statesby Michael Bronski
Synopses & Reviews
The first book to cover the entirety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from pre-1492 to the present.
In the 1620s, Thomas Morton broke from Plymouth Colony and foundedMerrymount, which celebrated same-sex desire, atheism, and interracial marriage. Transgender evangelist Jemima Wilkinson, in the early 1800s, changed her name to Publick Universal Friend, refused touse pronouns, fought for gender equality, and led her own congregation in upstate New York. In the mid-nineteenth century, internationally famous Shakespearean actor Charlotte Cushman led an openly lesbian life, includinga well-publicized female marriage. And in the late 1920s, Augustus Granville Dill was fired by W. E. B. Du Bois from the NAACP's magazine the Crisis after being arrestedfor a homosexual encounter. These are just a few moments of queer history that Michael Bronski highlights in this groundbreaking book.
Intellectually dynamic and endlessly provocative, A Queer History of the United States is more than a who's who of queer history: it is a book that radically challenges how we understand American history. Drawing uponprimary documents, literature, and cultural histories, noted scholar and activist Michael Bronski charts the breadth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from 1492 to the 1990s, and has written a testamentto how the LGBT experience has profoundly shaped our country, culture, and history.
A Queer History of the United States abounds with startling examples of unknown oroften ignored aspects of American history--the ineffectiveness of sodomy laws in the colonies, the prevalence of cross-dressing women soldiers in the Civil War, the impact of new technologies on LGBT life in thenineteenth century, and how rock music and popular culture were, in large part, responsible for the devastating backlash against gay rights in the late 1970s. Most striking, Bronski documents how, over centuries, variousincarnations of social purity movements have consistently attempted to regulate all sexuality, including fantasies, masturbation, and queer sex. Resisting these efforts, same-sex desire flourished and helped make Americawhat it is today.
At heart, A Queer History of the United States is simply about American history. It is a book that will matter both to LGBT people and heterosexuals.This engrossing and revelatory history will make readers appreciate just how queer America really is.
From the Hardcover edition.
“In the age of Twitter and reductive history, we need a complex, fully realized, radical reassessment of history—and A Queer History of the United States is exactly that. Along the way, there are enough revelations and reassessments to fuel dozens of arguments about how we got to where we are today. I don't know when I have enjoyed a history so much.” —Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
About the Author
Michael Bronski has been involved in Gay Liberation as a political organizer, writer, editor, publisher, and theorist since 1969. He wrote extensively for the LGBT press in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the author of Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility and The Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash and the Struggle for Gay Freedom. He has edited several books including Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps. His essays have appeared in nearly forty anthologies. As a journalist, cultural critic, and political commentator he has been published in a wide array of venues including The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, GLQ, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Phoenix. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Women's and Gender Studies and Jewish Studies program sat Dartmouth College.
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