Charles Kaiser The Gay Metropolis

ISBN 13: 9780395657812

The Gay Metropolis

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9780395657812: The Gay Metropolis

The Gay Metropolis is the definitive social and political history of modern gay life in America. Charles Kaiser is the first author to devote equal attention to the personal and the political, alternating between the intimate stories of people as famous as Leonard Bernstein and Gore Vidal and as little known as Sandy Kern, a young Brooklyn woman who first heard the word lesbian when a neighbor spied her with an arm around her girlfriend at the end of a wartime blackout. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, the book traces the gestation of the modern gay movement back to World War II, when the U.S. Army acted as "the great, secret, unwitting agent of gay liberation." Though it focuses on New York City, The Gay Metropolis visits San Francisco, Paris, and Egypt to capture wry, important, or novel tales. It covers the major social, political, and cultural events that have affected the way gay people view themselves and how they have been treated by the larger society.

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Review:

Charles Kaiser's The Gay Metropolis: 1940-1996, a history of gay life centered in New York, is packed with tales of writers and literature. Kaiser provides a kaleidoscope of details and stories that create a vision of how gay people lived, and illuminates a culture that had enormous influence on both New York and American society. Kaiser writes about such luminaries as Gore Vidal, Edward Albee, Truman Capote, and James Baldwin, but the real drive of The Gay Metropolis is how gay art and writings transformed the lives of everyday gay people. By the end of the book it is clear that gay artistic influence has transformed the American metropolis for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

About the Author:

Charles Kaiser is the author of the 1968 in America: Music, Politics, Choas, Counter-Culture and the Shaping of a Generation. A former repoter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Joutnal and the former media editor of Newsweek, he has also written for Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, Vogue, and many other publications. He has taught at Columbia University and at Princeton, where he was the Ferris Professor of Journalism. Kaiser currently calls New York City his home.

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