Dartmouth professor Michael Bronski has just released A Queer History of the United States reclaiming 500 years of our past. The Boston Globe ran a positive review, detailing Bronski's approach, which is to skip "the 'family album approach' that many such histories take — 'here is Oscar Wilde, here are the Stonewall Riots, here are queer couples being married in Boston.' The author finds this approach misleading; seeking to avoid the limitations of compartmentalized timelines and strict dichotomies, he illuminates the interconnected strands of cultural, social, economic, and religious history that have played a role in the development of the gay consciousness and community."
Reviewer Eric Liebetrau says, "the significance of the work of artists is a principal motif in Bronski’s history. Writers, musicians, and other cultural icons often led the charge for the gay community, most visibly on the vaudeville stage and, later, in the pulp novels of the mid-20th century, which became major avenues for discovery of homosexual subculture, for both the gay and straight communities." In his opinion, "Bronski is at his best in his discussions of the revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s, which appropriated the expressive power of the burgeoning gay arts scene and moved it into the political arena."
In a starred review, PW said, "A savvy political, legal, literary (and even fashion) history, Bronski’s narrative is as intellectually rigorous as it is entertaining."
After the jump, read great blurbs from Dorothy Allison, Alison Bechdel, Samuel Delany, John D'Emilio, Martin Duberman, and Jewelle Gomez.
“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
“Bronski has that rare ability to comprehensively synthesize a large body of material without simplifying or distorting it, taking as much care with historical evidence as with the shifts in language necessary to accurately understand it. Equally prudent with his definitions and generalizations, the result is a thoroughly accessible and reliable account that is as deeply informative as it is pleasurable to read.”—Martin Duberman
“This book is a revelation. Its lively and engaging narrative peels back layers of cultural interconnection—from the creation of corn flakes to curb masturbation to Bette Midler’s rise to stardom that started at a gay bathhouse—and much more. Bronski has a Zinn-like grasp of the ties that bind us all together and how to illuminate them on the page.”—Jewelle Gomez
“Bronski demonstrates with wit, insight, and impeccable scholarship that queer lives are, and always have been, woven into the very fabric of this country. Readable, radical, and smart—a must read.”—Alison Bechdel
“Elegant, insightfully selective, and unremittingly intelligent, Bronski’s survey—of the whys and the ways queer people’s work and struggle have been integral in forming what we call ‘the United States of America’—is an impressive and useful overview."—Samuel R. Delany
“Bronski does a stunning job of sweeping across five hundred years and weaving ‘queer’ through the history of this nation. Always insightful, and provocative.”—John D’Emilio