Synopses & Reviews
Robert Beachy was trained as a German historian at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in 1998. He is presently associate professor of history at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
"History professor Beachy's purpose, 'to historicize the invention of the homosexual and place this sexual identity firmly within the German milieu in which it appeared,' is achieved in this erudite work that traces the emergence of gay identity and sexual orientation to German specifically Berlin culture at the turn of the 20th century. Beachy relates the contributions of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, 'arguably the first man in modern history to acknowledge openly his sexual attraction to other men'; Richard von Kraft-Ebbing, a leading sexologist in the late 19th century; and Karl Kertbeny, who is credited with coining the neologism HomosexualitÃ¤t (homosexuality) in the mid-19th century. Particular attention is paid to the work of Magnus Hirschfeld, whose 'true genius' was 'combining almost seamlessly his science and activism.' Beachy also covers the activities of Berlin- based organizations such as the Scientific- Humanitarian Committee, the world's first homosexual rights organization. This lucidly written narrative includes enough spice (accounts of scandals, secret identities, and crimes) to draw in a general readership. However, Beachy's deeply researched, carefully structured book is foremost an impressive piece of scholarship." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
A detailed historical look at the surprising ways in which the uninhibited urban sexuality, sexual experimentation and medical advances of pre-Weimar Berlin created and molded our modern understanding of sexual orientation and gay identity.
Long known for the friendly company of its "warm brothers" (German slang for men who love other men), Berlin, even before the turn of the twentieth-century, was a place where educators, activists, and medical professionals could explore and begin to educate both themselves and Europe about new and emerging sexual identities. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the world's first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin's vast homosexual subcultures-tolerated and monitored by the police commissioner through the "Department of Homosexuals and Blackmailers"-to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II, and on through some of the world's first sex reassignment surgeries, Beachy deftly guides the reader through past events and developments that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality to this day. Gay Berlin is certain to be considered a foundational study.