Book Reviews by Stephen Wayne Foster
Book Reviews by Stephen Wayne Foster
Les délices des coeurs, ou, Ce que l'on ne trouve en aucun livre by Ahmad al-Tîfâchî
This is a French translation of a collection of erotic tales of straight and gay love. The gay tales were translated by Stephen W. Foster into English, but Gay Sunshine Press rejected this and replaced it with a translation by E. A. Lacey. The straight tales have never been translated into English.
James Gould Cozzens: A Life Apart by Matthew Joseph Bruccoli
Bruccoli specialized in exactly the sort of writers who are the ones least likely to attract me as a reader. I will admit that I have never read anything by Cozzens, and am not likely to ever read him. But a well-researched and well-written biography is what it is, regardless of whether the subject is or is not my cup of tea. I only read this because of Cozzens' connection with Cuthbert Wright, who is just barely mentioned. I read the whole biography anyway. It is overwhelming in its completeness of detail. We are told everything except how Cozzens had his eggs (scrambled, hard-boiled, etc.). Of course I was not surprised that Cozzens was a drunk (so was Cuthbert Wright). Only someone resolutely interested in Cozzens will wish to read all of this. I did find it fascinating that Cozzens in his youth was the protege of no less than three poets that I am currently researching, namely Cuthbert Wright, Robert Hillyer and Lucius Beebe. One need only look at the photos of the young Cozzens to understand the why and wherefore of these mentor/protege relationships. My own dealings with Kent School in researching Wright have made me appreciate what Bruccoli went through in researching that period of Cozzens' life.
The Other Face of Love by Raymond de Becker
This French overview of homosexuality dates from 1964, and is therefore sadly out of date, but the text is inclusive and adequate. There are a lot of pictures, many of them frankly erotic. There are a lot of pictures of lesbians, apparently intended to encourage heterosexual men to buy the book.
Imagining Gay Paradise: Bali, Bangkok, and Cyber-Singapore by Gary Atkins
This is not a history of male homosexuality in Southeast Asia, but it does present the reader with bits and pieces of that history, if by "history" one also includes fairly recent events. It deals with Bali, Bangkok and Singapore. The author should have divided the book into three distinct sections, one for each location. By presenting his facts as he does, switching back and forth from one location to another, he almost confuses the reader. One minute we are in Bangkok in 1910, the next minute we are in Bali in 1938, the next minute we are in modern Singapore, then modern Bangkok, then Singapore, then Bangkok .... It is an Oriental roller-coaster ride. We have everything from a Siamese king who apparently was gay to a German painter in Bali to gay bars in Bangkok to gay lib in Singapore. The sections on Bali focus, not on the Balinese, but on a German painter. May I humbly suggest that the story of his life, however fascinating, comes under the heading of German gay history and not Balinese gay history?
The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842 by Diana Preston
The Afghans have had plenty of practice in dealing with invasions, and this is a gory and fascinating account of how Akbar Khan and the Afghan tribal forces took on a British army and smashed it until nothing was left. It is not just that the Army of the Indus was led by a pack of fools. It is not just that Akbar Khan had the bad habit of making fake promises one after another. It is not just that the British thought that they were the cat and that the Afghans were the mice, only to realize the hard way that it was the Afghans who were the cat and the British who were the mice. It is not just that the total absence of gun control in Afghanistan has saved it time and again from conquest. It is that the men of Afghanistan are the best fighters in the world, and they live in the best defensive terrain. This is not the first account of the First Afghan War, but I would say that it is the most detailed and the most exciting. The "characters" come fully alive. This book is not for the squeamish.
Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan (International Library of Iranian Studies) by Rudolph P. Matthee
Islamic dynasties have risen, flourished, decayed and fallen. This is the standard cycle of history. Here we have a thorough analysis of how the once-glorious Safavid dynasty of Persia (Iran) declined and fell. One can play the game of asking, "If I had been the Shah, what would I have done to avert decline-and-fall?" But it seems that there is no special trick that could prevent the cycle of history from repeating itself.
The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart
It is ironic that the same people who, in America, were all gung-ho in favor of ending segregation in Alabama, are the same people (Jews) who in Israel/Palestine are all gung-ho in favor of eternal segregation. For those of you who dream of a two-state solution, is this the solution that was worked out in Alabama? Does Alabama have two nations, one all-White and the other all-Black? Seperate but equal? It is true that in India there has been a two-state (or rather three-state) solution: India for the Hindus and Pakistan and Bangladesh for the Muslims. But was this the correct solution? What is the moral difference between the Zionists who have pushed the Palestinians into Gaza, and the White racists who dream of expelling all non-Whites from Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in order to create a Northwest all-White bastion? If all the Blacks were pushed out of any American state by armed force in order to create an all-White nation, what is the moral difference between this and Zionism? If this is racism, then how is it not racism to create or wish for a nation that is reserved for one specific group only, whether that group be Whites or Jews? The Palestinians ask, as the slaves asked, "Am I not a man and a brother?" The Zionist answer is "No, you are not a man or a brother!" If this is not a recipe for disaster, then what is it?
Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot by Philip Henry Gosse
Gosse's motto apparently was "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up." Although he was a scientist and therefore should have known better, he was also a member of a small, fanatical millenarian cult with a literal belief in Genesis, which posits that the world was created in a flash in 4004 BC. Since all of the scientific data pointed in the other direction, with the strong implication that Genesis is simply a Jewish creation myth which has no more validity than a Navaho creation myth, for example, Gosse tried to hold on to his cult beliefs by dreaming up a totally preposterous rationalization in which God is seen as a hoaxster and the universe as a hoax. This obviously doesn't put God in a good light, and many Christians have rejected Gosse along with the usual atheists. One unusual result of Gosse's theory was a theory called Last Thursdayism, which posits that everything was created last Thursday, but God made it look older.
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Facsimile of the William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer with the original 87 Illustrations by Edward Burne-Jones by Geoffrey Chaucer
I encountered this splendid work some fifty years ago when I was 19 years old. It was right there on the shelf in the college library under "Chaucer." Not in Special Collections or anything under lock and key, not "reading room only" or anything else to daunt the reader in the slightest. I could hardly believe it, it was as if I were in a dream. I had already heard of it, and there it was! There were a whole beehive of private presses in those artsy-craftsy days, and this was the Holy Grail of private book production. There shall never again come a day when such a book appears.
Todo Ben Quzman - 3 Volumenes (Spanish Edition) by Emilio Garcia Gomez
I encountered this splendid work some fifty years ago when I was 19 years old. It was right there on the shelf in the college library under "Chaucer." Not in Special Collections or anything under lock and key, not "reading room only" or anything else to daunt the reader in the slightest. I could hardly believe it, it was as if I were in a dream. I had already heard of it, and there it was! There were a whole beehive of private presses in those artsy-craftsy days, and this was the Holy Grail of private book production. There shall never again come a day when such a book appears.
John Addington Symonds, A Biography Compiled from His Papers and Correspondence by Horatio F. Brown
This appeared a century ago at a time when there was zero sympathy and understanding for homosexuality, and the author, who was the executor of the Symonds estate, shamelessly covered up the truth about Symonds, even going so far as to destroy material. More recent books on Symonds have broken the conspiracy of silence, thus reducing the value of the Brown book to nothing. Comment Comment | Permalink
Frank Sutcliffe: Photographer of Whitby by Michael Hiley
Whitby was a Victorian backwater that otherwise might have been lost "to memory and to fame" were it not for Frank Sutcliffe and his wonderfully masterful photographs of the local folks in all their rustic charm. He was excommunicated for his most famous photo, "Water rats" -- a stunning example of Victorian overkill, for the picture is innocent as an egg. Today this photo would create even more of an uproar. So much for progress.
Derek Jarman's Caravaggio: The Complete Film Script and Commentaries by Derek Jarman
This is the script and various still shots for a film about the great painter. It is not worthy of him, but should be part of every Caravaggio fan's collection. As a book, it will do; as a film, it won't. Comment Comment | Permalink
Wilhelm von Gloeden, photographer: A brief introduction to his life and work by Charles Leslie
The text is not very long but it is informative. This is about a world-famous German photographer of male nudes who settled in Taormina, Sicily, in the late 19th century. The local males were perfectly content to pose, often with rather silly props, for "artistic" nude photos which gradually became popular around Europe, not merely among homosexuals, but among people in general. Most of this book is of course devoted to the photos. They are erotic but not pornographic. They are in good taste. I personally don't consider von Gloeden (pronounced glerden) to have been a great artistic photographer, but he was of great cultural significance in his day.
The Koran (Penguin Classics) by N. J. Dawood
I am in no position to judge the value of this particular translation. I read the first edition before the revisions were made. As a person coming from a Mormon background, I find this book to be structured like the Doctrine and Covenants, a Mormon scriptural book that consists of a series of revelations given to Joseph Smith in Kirtland and elsewhere. Here we have a series of revelations given to Mohammed in Mecca and Medina. The book is extraordinarily repetitious. Certain standard phrases appear again and again. I see no more reason to be upset about this book than about the Smith book. Either one believes it or one does not. There is no need to have a cow over it. In past centuries the Europeans referred to "the Alcoran of the impostor Mahomet" in sneering terms. Thanks to the events happening since 2000, there has arisen a sharp increase in Islamophobia in the West. I am writing this a day after the Toulouse event. One can hardly be objective about the Koran or Islam. In 1966-67, I lived for more than a year in Morocco, a beautiful and fascinating country. The people liked the Americans in those days. I came near to the entrance of an Islamic shrine and saw a sign saying "Interdit chiens et Juifs" but otherwise things were cool, except for a few Jews lynched here and there during the 1967 war. I saw the last Jews in Rabat before they fled to Israel, a Gypsy-looking lot who shouted "Auschwitz" at me as I passed through the Mellah (ghetto). I suppose they thought I was a German tourist. My introduction to Islam was pleasant enough and I cannot draw a connection between the terrorists of today and the Moroccans of 1967. The Koran is not an evil book, nor is Islam a cult.
Guns, Crime & Freedom by Wayne LaPierre
As a member of the NRA and a subscriber to American Rifleman, I am very familiar with Mr LaPierre and his opinions, and of course I agree with them. Every time there is a highly-publicized gun crime, such as school shootings, the NRA once again has to trot out the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" mantra. It really shouldn't be necessary to say this. England put a stop to gun crime by putting a stop to guns, but the only result was that gun crime was replaced by knife crime. If criminals don't have one weapon, they will find another weapon. If we had an epidemic of strangulations, would the government outlaw hands? While living in New Orleans in 1971, I was attacked by four punks who threw bricks at me. Should bricks be outlawed? When Cain killed Abel, did he use a gun? It sometimes seems that the government is on the side of the criminal when it wants to prevent people from protecting themselves with guns.
Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey by Alan P. Medinger
Reparative therapy has been outlawed in Ecuador. That's right, people like the author can be, and should be, arrested if they go to Ecuador and try practicing this voodoo. These therapists all seem alike. They all think that being gay has something to do with effeminacy, they all think that homosexuality is a disorder or disease or problem or whatever, they all think that you should switch to heterosexuality because organized religion says so, they all think that psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic psychotherapy has all the answers, the answers always having something to do with your parents or your failure to play football or whatever, and all of these voodoo priests are Republicans who get their news from Fox or World Net Daily. I dare you to find even one reparative therapist who is a Democrat. Why is it that a man can't be a "real" man unless he prefers football to Shakespeare?
You Don't Have to Be Gay: Hope and Freedom for Males Struggling With Homosexuality or for Those Who Know of Someone Who Is by J. A. Konrad
The recipient of these letters was introduced to homosexuality by a pedophile at age 11, and this relationship continued well into his teens. He then graduated into regular homosexuality, if only because he didn't know any better. Compare this with the Steven Stayner trajectory: kidnapped at age 7, had sex every night with his kidnapper for 7 years, then left, went back home, married, became a father, and died in a traffic accident. Seven years of this stuff didn't turn Stayner into a homosexual, but it turned Mike into one. Interesting. In any case, I am a 68-year-old gay man who was a virgin until the age of 25. Nothing happened to me to turn me into something I wasn't. I remember a incident when I was 9, where I was rebuffed by another boy when I embraced him while we were both shirtless. At that time I also knew a weird boy of 9 called Paul. He had already developed the body language and mannerisms of an effeminate homosexual. I'm sure that no pedophile had done this to him, for he was remarkably ugly. I am willing to give Mike the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he was headed for heterosexuality until the pedophile came along. But pedophilia is not the cause of homosexuality. Maybe a failure of his father to relate to him may have pushed him into the pedophile's arms, but Stayner didn't turn gay even after 3,000 nights with Kenneth Parnell. So my guess is that Mike wasn't really gay, and therefore he simply returned to his original heterosexuality after a 12-year detour. This is not the same thing as transforming a homosexual into a heterosexual. It doesn't prove anything about other men.
The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand
The Jews are by no means the only people whose traditional narrative of origin is mythological. My own people, the Scots, once believed that they migrated to Scotland from Scythia. The Irish used to believe that they migrated to Ireland from Troy and Egypt. There are African-Americans who believe that Hannibal and Cleopatra were black. The origin of the Jews is hopelessly obscured by myth and legend. The evangelical Christians who support Israel because they believe in these myths and legends (i.e., the Old Testament) are not helping the matter. I was just reading in Kessler's diary of how the original Zionists hoped to establish a Jewish state, not in Palestine but in Iraq. Using Social Constructionism and other theories, it is possible to prove that all of us, all nations and peoples, are a mishmash of this and that. There have always been migrations. The takeover of Palestine by the Jews is no different than the takeover of Miami Beach, formerly a Jewish enclave, by the Hispanics. People push other people out. But it is one thing to migrate and conquer. It is another thing to claim a right to a certain region because "God says so." The early New England settlers saw their wars against the Indians as a new Conquest of Canaan. That is why New Canaan, Connecticut has its name. The paganism of the Indians was seen as a justification for conquest, the same as in the Book of Joshua. In the end, suppose that the Gypsies (Romany) wished for a homeland which they never had, and somehow they obtained weapons. Then they would have to select somebody else's property and invade it. What if they chose Israel?
A Flight Of Fancies by Norman Gale
This is one of a number of volumes of verse by Norman Gale. He was not a great poet, but the verses are worth reading if you can relate to innocent poems about nature and children. This was first published at Rugby in 1926.
Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918 by Graf Harry Kessler
At almost 1,000 pages and covering almost forty years, this book is quite overwhelming. Kessler was a magnificent writer and had the uncanny ability to meet everyone worth meeting, and go everywhere worth going, not to mention being in the audience for Cyrano, Peter Pan and Nijinsky. He managed to get to Verlaine and Nietzsche before they died. The mere list of people that he met is astonishing, and the fact that he knew many of them intimately is all the more impressive. He was at the very center of the action. We are given a tour of the world early on -- the Alamo, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids -- and he describes the crowds in New York, in Paris, in Berlin, in London, in Constantinople, the world of the Belle Epoque, of Proust, of Wilhelmine Germany, all the French artists, the Austrian and German and British cultural worlds, it just goes on and on -- until the Archduke is shot and Europe is drenched in blood. His description of battlefields littered with ghastly corpses is Dantesque in its power. There is also homosexuality here, for Kessler was gay, although he only speaks of others and not of himself. I get the impression that Maillol was a repressed bisexual. I was surprised to learn that Verlaine claimed that his liaison with Rimbaud was platonic. Was this in the same category with Whitman's denial to Symonds? There was another volume of the diary that appeared in English forty years ago, but it failed to make a splash. Hopefully this volume will place Kessler where he belongs -- among the greatest German writers.
Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
I was just reading a recent article on Poe by some Brit named Kevin Jackson. He doesn't like Poe. He lists other Brits who haven't liked Poe: Aldous Huxley, Kingsley Amis, George Orwell, Owen Dudley Edwards. Of course, this probably has something to do with the fact that Brits tend to despise Americans in general. But Jackson admits that the French just love Poe: Baudelaire, Mallarme, Valery, etc. Baudelaire in particular worshipped Poe quite literally: he prayed to him. Poe's association with the French preceeded his writings: he met the Marquis de Lafayette during his teens in Richmond, when he escorted the elderly Marquis (friend of George Washington) down the aisle of a church. I'll bet you didn't know that! I own two biographies of Poe: one by George Edward Woodberry and the other by Hervey Allen, both of which I recommend. As to the tales and the poems, of course Poe is beyond criticism (in spite of the Brits). He was a genius and his writings are immortal. The young tend to be his greatest fans, as they are the greatest fans of Lovecraft. His very popularity tells against him among the literary snobs. The young don't read literary criticism, so they read as they please, and they please to read Poe. Poe is cool. You just have to be cool when you end a story thus: "Rip up the boards! It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded Third Edition by Felice Picano
As a 68-year-old gay man who dodged the bullet by never engaging in anal sex, I find it almost bizarre that the fun-and-games theory of "sex" is still being touted after the early deaths of so many readers of the first edition. The only responsible guide to male homosexuality that I know of is Plato's Symposium, written 2,400 years ago, the first and still the best. Although I did have "sex" with a small number of partners, some (but by no means all, or even most) of whom identified as gay, most of my experiences in the widest sense have consisted of purely platonic friendships with handsome young straight guys who thought I was wonderful. There was, for example, Jim, very handsome, just turning 19 when I, aged 37, found him in a laundromat and chatted him up. The conversation lasted eight hours, from 4 PM to 2 AM. We had a romantic dinner by candlelight at his place. He was very pleased with me and God knows that I was very pleased with him. We never had sex. He identified as 100% straight. He knew I was gay. He was one of the great loves of my life. Our friendship was a perfect example of what Plato suggested. Is there any mention of such relationships in this book? No, of course not. And that is what is wrong with this book.
Of Sodomites, Effeminates, Hermaphrodites, and Androgynes: Sodomy in the Age of Peter Damian (Studies and Texts) by Glenn W. Olsen
This is perhaps the most important and brilliant study of same-sex relations in medieval Europe since John Boswell's ground-breaking book in 1980. When I began my own research into gay history in 1970, the books on medieval same-sex behavior could be counted on my fingers. Then came Boswell ten years later. In the thirty-odd years since then, there has been an avalanche of books and articles on this subject. Glenn Olsen is a Catholic professor of history. He is as neutral about his subject as one can expect in the midst of a firestorm of controversy. He neither condemns homosexuality nor pleads in its favor. He neither takes the essentialist route nor the social constructionist route. He avoids all jargon and fashionable nonsense. He avoids excessively modern or trendy terminology. He reminds us that when dealing with eleventh-century same-sex relations, the word is not "homosexual" or "gay" but "sodomy" (sodomia). The book starts out with astonishing photos of lewd sculptures in Romanesque churches and monasteries. He then devotes a first section to general issues. In the longer second section, he narrows in on Saint Peter Damian's "homophobic" rant, Letter 31, often known as the Book of Gomorrah. He analyzes all possible aspects of it. Most of the pages consist half of text and half of footnotes. This is not for the casual or general reader! The splendid bibliography is 80 pages long, citing works in English, Latin, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. The afterword, only five pages long, needs to be read by every student of this subject. In spite of the seemingly narrow focus, this is a major work that must be read and understood if one is to deal with medieval same-sex behavior in a proper manner at all.
Book of Gomorrah: An Eleventh-Century Treatise against Clerical Homosexual Practices by Saint Peter Damian
Cardinal Saint Peter Damian was one of the most influential figures in the Catholic church in the eleventh century, and we can never be thankful enough that he failed to become pope. He was fond of being flagellated and he had a particular dislike of sodomites, about whom he wrote this book. He was of the opinion that if something happened in the past, God could somehow erase it from history as if it had never happened, a rather Orwellian concept. But to this book. It would appear that same-sex misbehavior was rife among the clergy and the monks, and Damian denounced this sort of thing as unnatural and sinful and all that sort of thing. He was one of the very first writers to use the word "sodomy" and by this word he meant not merely sodomy, but also solitary masturbation, mutual masturbation, femoral intercourse and sodomy in the regular sense. He was one of the founding fathers of homophobia.
What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
I am a 68-year-old gay agnostic who has been in and out of belief over a long period, and it has been hard for me to avoid reducing all of Christianity to a roadblock on the highway to equal rights. But there is more to it than that. Yes, I have read the entire Bible. I have read the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and so forth. My considered opinion is that Christianity thrives on low self-esteem. If you read Hoffer, Rand, Branden, Nietzsche and so forth, this is what you come up with. The central message of Christianity is that you (regardless of who or what you are) are worthless, a miserable sinner, doomed to Hell were it not for God's whimsical fondness for you in spite of your utter worthlessness. I fail to see how you can get anything out of such a message other than low self-esteem. Grace sounds nice until you figure out that it makes sense only if you agree to feel utterly worthless. If you follow the line of argument, you are supposed to put yourself into the same category as terrorists and serial killers and other scum, and then marvel at "the grace that so fully He proffers me" as the hymn-writer put it so nicely. It is almost like a lullaby, and so easy to fall for it if you already had low self-esteem to begin with, even before you were told that you couldn't possibly ever deserve any good thing that you receive. It is almost like the scene in 'Oliver Twist' where Oliver asks for more lousy food and is met with indignation and outrage.
The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today by Alan Sears
Just take any anti-Semitic book and replace the word "Jew" with the word "homosexual" and voila! You have this book, or any book similar to it. The anti-Semites tell you that the Jews in America are a tiny minority, and yet they control Hollywood, the media, television, Broadway, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, etc. etc. In exactly the same way, the homophobes tell you that homosexuals are a tiny minority, and yet they control Hollywood, the media, television, Broadway, the fashion industry, ballet, etc. etc. The international Zionist agenda becomes the homosexual agenda. They're out to get you, they're everywhere! They want to do horrible things like join the Army, or get married! Oh, ain't it awwwwwful! I love the way that the term "religious freedom" is being used here to refer to the "freedom" to prevent gay people from having the rights their taxpayer dollars have paid for. Yes, that's right, gay people actually pay taxes! They pay the same amount that the Christians pay. But the Christians don't want gay tax money to result in the gay taxpayers getting anything in return for their tax dollars. The Christians want the gay taxpayers to have taxation without benefits. There was a gay man and a Christian who both went into a sandwich shop and they both paid five bucks for a sandwich. The owner took the money from both of them and gave a sandwich to the Christian, but gave nothing to the gay man. The gay man demanded a sandwich in exchange for the money he had paid out, but the owner said, "You are not equal, and therefore you get nothing, but I'm keeping your money." This is the sort of treatment to which the Christians wish to subject the homosexuals, and if the latter complain, they are accused of having an agenda.
The Inferno (Signet Classics) by John Ciardi
A leftist do-gooder organization called Gherush92 Committee for Human Rights has denounced Dante's masterpiece as racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and demanded that the book be removed from all Italian schools so as not to poison the minds of the students. This is what comes of trying to apply 21st century concepts to a work written 700 years earlier in a society whose values were completely different. The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. Comment Comment | Permalink
Perverts in Paradise by João Silvério Trevisan
I read this in Portuguese (Devassos no Paraiso). One could perhaps wish for more history and less activism. Believe it or not, the history of homosexuality actually does not consist of talking about little activist groups and their publications. The illustrations will probably give "nice" homosexuals a fit, since they tend towards the lurid.
The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet) by Ayn Rand
This shortish book is probably the best introduction to Objectivism for college students. I read this when it first came out and was overwhelmed by it. I have had plenty of time in which to become less pleased than I was. It is a collection of essays by Rand and Nathaniel Branden. The effect of reading it is roughly similar to being run over by a tank. I still own the very copy which I read so long ago. I think that the last essay is the most useful, 'The Argument From Intimidation' having stood the test of time. I am not an Objectivist, however. For one thing, I am gay and therefore by no means pleased with Rand's homophobia. Secondly, Rand and Branden were/are Jewish, and the Objectivist movement has been basically taken over by Zionists, a movement I detest. Thirdly, her rant on Racism is very offensive to me, if only because it would imply that Scottish-Americans (such as myself) have no right to ethnic pride or collective identity. Fourthly, Branden went off and founded a therapy cult which I distrust. Fifthly, I have seen all 3 segments of the Mike Wallace interview, in which Rand comes across as obnoxious as possible, strident, harsh, dogmatic, enveloped (along with Wallace) in a thick cloud of cigarette smoke, giving off a vague impression of being a ranting lunatic. The same impression is to be found in this book, except for the cloud of smoke.
Those About to Die by Daniel P Mannix
I read this book when it first came out. I had already developed a passion for history as a child, and had become fascinated by gladiators as a result of seeing a couple of movies on that theme. For those teenagers who complain that the study of history is boring, try Mannix and you'll never see history as dull again. This is as exciting as the best historical novel.
===History of India: From the First European Settlements to the Founding of the English East India Company / by Sir William Wilson Hunter by Stanley Lane-Poole===
The author was a Scot who died in 1900. He went out to India early and devoted his life to an omnivorous study of the subcontinent. He wrote a study of Indian history up to around 1700. This is the first volume of two.
History of Ottoman Turks; from the beginning of their empire to the present time. Chiefly founded on Von Hammer by Edward Shepherd Creasy
The author died in 1878, so this survey of Ottoman history gets no further than the point when the empire was beginning to crumble. It is based on von Hammer-Purgstall's writings. Turkey was once a great nation, twice besieging Vienna. Had history been even slightly different, we would all be speaking Turkish today.
Selected Letters of George Edward Woodberry by George Edward Woodberry
Woodberry is one of my "pet" authors. I have read much of his writings, all long since forgotten, if indeed it was ever noticed in the first place. I suspect that this selection is expurgated, seeing that Woodberry was a pederast. I also own one of his actual letters, not a copy but the real letter, written in 1898 and asking some bureaucrat to get Colonel Roosevelt to accept one of Woodberry's proteges as a member of the Rough Riders.
Taormina,: By George E. Woodberry by George Edward Woodberry
This is a brief but charming and well-written booklet on a town that a century ago was a magnet for tourists to Sicily. The author was an American professor and poet whose homosexuality is only distantly hinted at, even when dealing with a gay Mecca. Comment Comment | Permalink
The Erotic Minorities. Introd. by Yves De Saint-Agnes. Translated by Anselm Hollo by Lars Ullerstam
There used to be a time not so long ago when Denmark and Sweden were notorious for being in the vanguard of the sexual revolution. It therefore comes as a shock to find Sweden described in this book as a repressive, puritanical country -- in 1964! The author devotes the entire book to berating the Swedes for being so hopelessly reactionary and strait-laced. He begs them to lighten up, enlighten up, and be good Kinsey-fed tolerant liberals, tossing away the legacy of Christian puritanism. This makes for somewhat strange reading. The modern reader has to keep reminding himself that this is Sweden in 1964 and not modern Sweden. The greatest shock comes in the chapter on homosexuality, where we find the Swedes homophobic, complete with a different age of consent for gay (18) and straight (15). As for the author's own proclivities, it seems vaguely that he is speaking for himself when he urges the lowering of the gay age of consent to 15. It should here be noted that he discusses pederasty in the chapter on homosexuality and not in the chapter on pedophilia.
Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story by Jerry Sandusky
I have coined a term, Paedocaust (or Pedocaust, if you prefer) to denote the sexual holocaust that we have long been aware of. This Sandusky scandal is probably the biggest one of this sort to hit the sports world since 1997, when a scandal erupted in the world of Canadian hockey. But this thing has been going on in sports for ages, as witness Big Bill Tilden in the world of tennis long ago. Of course we are not going to "save the children" by abolishing sports any more than we are going to save them by abolishing the Catholic church or the Boy Scouts or the educational system. Although children tend to be segregated from adults in various ways in our society, somebody still has to mind them. We cannot lock the children up 24/7 like dogs. Charities will still have to operate to serve the needy children, and somebody has to staff them. Putting women in charge of boys doesn't seem to work, the women are in this game just as much as the men. I was thinking that perhaps we ought not to glorify men whose only talent is to chase a ball around in some manner or other, but whether it be a football, a tennis ball, a hockey puck or whatever, something is still going to attract boys, and the men who are attracted to boys will still be there. The cover-ups will persist. Plato said 2,500 years ago that men who love boys ought to love them platonically ("platonic" being the adjective form of Plato), but the idea, the counter-idea, that "sex" is a game where one scores a point for every sexual partner (a hundred partners, a hundred points) has led us down an increasingly muddy path, once known as the primrose path, to this situation that we all find ourselves in, where children are points in a dirty little game, and not our brothers to love and protect.
Escape from Childhood by John Caldwell Holt
This book was published around the time when Americans were just getting used to the idea of the legal age of adulthood being lowered from 21 to 18. It seems that there has been a reaction even to this mildest and most reasonable of reforms. There is more and more talk of human beings not reaching 'full' mental growth until age 24. It is against the law in various places to rent hotel rooms to under-21's. In Miami Beach it is against the law for orange juice to be served to under-21's (no, not a joke). It is of course against the law to serve alcohol to under-21's, even if they are in the military. The pediatric establishment defines "child" as anyone under 21, so that 20-year-olds can stay in pediatric hospitals. All newspapers report teenage criminal behavior with the word "teen" always included in the headline in a way that the word "Jew" (for example) would never be used. Connecticut repealed its law which had permitted 16-year-olds to live away from home without permission. Every parent has the right to emancipate their teenager, and yet very few do so. I will admit that Holt seems to be going too far in such chapters as the one to legalize drugs for teenagers, and the age of consent has been moving higher instead of lower in the midst of moral panics. Holt's use of royal princes from the past is hardly a proof of freedom for teenagers in general in the past. In fact, the age of adulthood in France used to be 35, then it was lowered to 30, then to 25, then to 18 (no, I'm not making this up). History proves exactly the opposite of what Holt sought to prove. Even now, the age of adulthood in Alaska and Alabama is still 19 rather than 18. Mankind is moving backwards on this issue. I need hardly mention the loss of civil rights for high school students. It just gets worse and worse. Even today, Holt would be considered a radical extremist.
The Bible in Original Languages is Not anti Gay: an essential guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians by A. Nyland
I am a gay man who has read the entire King James Bible. I have no problem with my homosexuality. However, I find it silly, and possibly dangerous, for gay men and lesbians to try to delude themselves into believing that the Bible does not condemn what is known today as "homosexuality." Admittedly, the concept of homosexuality is a 19th-century invention, and the Bible was written thousands of years ago by men whose understanding of same-sex behavior was quite different from the modern one. Thus, technically, no, the Bible does not condemn the modern concept. However, it condemns something that at least vaguely resembles homosexuality. To say that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality is rather like saying that the Bible does not condemn drunk driving. Of course you won't find anywhere in the Bible a passage that forbids drunk driving. The automobile wasn't invented until thousands of years later, and drunk driving simply didn't exist yet. So if the Bible doesn't condemn drunk driving, does that mean that Christians should tolerate drunk drivers?
Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life by Allen Shawn
Having been both agoraphobic and homosexual, and having lived in a society that explains everything disagreeable as being a result of your disfunctional family, I cannot agree with the author's explanation as to how he became a nervous wreck. I do not find my homosexuality disagreeable, and have not attempted to avoid it. On the other hand, my agoraphobia was a problem, as how could it not be? After 18 years of being limited by it, I went to a psychotherapist, who of course told me that Freudian explanations were the answer. But they were not the answer. I dropped the therapy and overcame my agoraphobia the hard way. It took years of struggle. My theory, and I am not saying that this applies to everyone, is that the initial impression is that the unsafe area consists of the entire world beyond your comfort zone. This is a dangerous illusion. The unsafe area in fact is a doughnut-shaped area that extends outward no farther than 100 miles. Beyond it everything is as safe as in the comfort zone. If you can make it past those 100 miles, you are free.
Kim, My Beloved by Jens Eisenhardt
So many novels on this theme are lacking in literary quality, but this stands by itself as a masterpiece. It is too bad that the forbidden theme makes it of interest only to the few. Eisenhardt died on January 2, 2012.
The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach (Homosexuality) by Donald Webster Cory
In its time (1951), this book came as a bombshell, especially as it appeared in the midst of a witch hunt. Anyone who wants a view of gay life then would do well to read this book. That is the good news. Now for the bad news. Donald Webster Cory (and not "Daniel" Webster Cory as Troy Perry insisted on calling him) was really Edward Sagarin, a physically impaired man who apparently identified with Quasimodo, and whose self-loathing knew no bounds. Far from being the leader of the gay movement of his day, he rejected every good thing that liberal experts had to say about gay people. To the bitter end, he agreed with the idea that gay people are deviants, that they are sick, that homosexuality is a "problem." He would today probably be a spokesperson for some 'ex-gay' group. He was, in a word, a collaborator.
Les homosexuels by Daniel Marc/ Baudry Andre
This is a moderate liberal view of homosexuality in France. It was reviewed by Pasolini in his book 'Scritti corsari' but my translation of the review, although available on the net, may be a bit hard to find. The co-author of this booklet, Andre Baudry, was for many years the leader of the French "homophile" movement, a moderate assimilationist movement similar to the one of the same name in America, and which in the same way was swept aside by the rise of a far more radical militant gay liberationism.
Scritti corsari by Pier Paolo Pasolini
This is a collection of miscellaneous writings and "documents" by a major Italian writer who is not likely to endear himself to Americans through his combination of leftism and pederasty. This book has been translated into Spanish, but not into English except for a section translated by myself and available on the net. His writing style is quite convoluted.
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) by Eric Hoffer
This review is from: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) (Paperback) It is so easy to forget the brief warning at the beginning where Hoffer says that the reader ought not to rush to agree with everything the author has to say. The reader is then immediately plunged into a relentless tide of aphoristic statements that are presented with a breathtaking certainty of tone that sweep him along to the very end, leaving him convinced that Hoffer was the wisest and most brilliant philosopher, psychologist, sociologist and writer who ever was or ever could be, the man who has all the answers and who explains everything. Well, not quite. One has to remember that Hoffer was a longshoreman, a drifter, at the very bottom of the social ladder for a long while. His university was the school of hard knocks. It is not everyone who comes from such a background that can rise to write such a book. Most of such people never even read books, much less write them. He was a product of a certain time and place, a certain social class, and perhaps a century from now he will be forgotten. His book has lasted sixty years, and it still sounds like the correct explanation, but although human nature doesn't change, perhaps there will come a day when somebody, somewhere, somehow, manages to find fault with this book and replaces it with something better. But I doubt it.
Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
Maybe you should read Eric Hoffer's book 'The True Believer' before reading the Tanners. They are not trying to rid you of your desire to be a true believer, they are only trying to get you to switch to something else in which to truly believe. Even if I agree with all of the facts as they present them, I still find it fanatical on their part that they should have devoted so much time and energy to trying to destroy their former church, simply to get you to become another type of holy roller. Nobody but a fanatic would sit there with two different editions of a 600-page book and count all the discrepancies, all 4,000 of them. It would amuse me if they got to Heaven only to find a flagpole by the pearly gates with a banner flying from it decorated with a crescent and star.
Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
There comes a point in the process of habitually trying to discredit Mormonism where the critic finally goes off the deep end and believes any nonsense that puts the Church in a bad light. The Tanners obviously reached that point with this book. At least 90%, and more like 100%, of all the claims about Satanic ritual abuse are fictional, and the idea of this sort of thing, if it exists at all, happening among Mormons is truly ridiculous.
How the Irish Became White (Routledge Classics) by Noel Ignatiev
My ancestors, the Scottish highlanders, were long despised even in their own country as barbarians fit only to be exterminated or at least assimilated. This comes close enough to how the Irish were perceived. But I think that Ignatiev's use of the word "White" is easily misunderstood. He doesn't believe that there is such a thing as the White race. He is a Marxist and a Social Constructionist. Such people don't believe that ANY human category is real or fixed. He is annoyed at the Irish for failing to become Marxists when their proletarian roots theoretically should have driven them in that direction. I consider his ideological theories to be nonsense. This book is not really about the Irish, he is just using them as an example. He could just as easily have written a book complaining about Black assimilationists. He could have written a book titled "How the Blacks Became White."
Race Traitor by Noel Ignatiev
Ignatiev claims that he doesn't hate White people or want to exterminate them. As a gay man myself, I can see an uncanny similarity to his attitude towards White people and a reparative therapist's attitude towards gay people. A reparative therapist will say that he doesn't hate gay people, he just has compassion for them and wants to help them to become heterosexual. In exactly the same way, Ignatiev doesn't hate White people, he has compassion for them and wants to help them leave their "whiteness." In effect, what he and his ilk are promoting is a sort of reparative therapy for White people, based on the idea that "whiteness" is a disorder that needs to be cured.
Ralph Chubb, the Unknown: a Checklist and Extensively Expurgated Biography by Anthony Reid
This small book was written by the English bibliophile, the late Anthony Reid, not to be confused with the author of books on Indonesia. Chubb (1892-1960) was a somewhat dotty prophet of pederasty, who produced a number of rare and astonishing illustrated books of poetry and prophecy, all of them hand-published on his own private press. His was a lost cause indeed. He was rescued from oblivion by Reid. Reid lived with his vast book collection at a mansion called Lake Dawn. It was once raided by the police. Reid was an irascible man of the distinctly English variety, the sort who loathes Americans. He later translated an enormous amount of gay poetry and had it privately published.
Psychopathia Sexualis by Krafft Ebing
I first saw a copy of the hardcover edition of this book when working at the public library in 1968. It was not on the open shelves. It was in a private room and had to be requested and read there without checking it out. The really dirty parts were in Latin. In 1969 a complete English translation appeared in paperback for the first time, 67 years after the death of the author. That is how notorious this book was. It is a horror museum of human sexuality, Every possible and impossible perversion was presented in lurid detail. The reader feels as if he had been cast into a snake pit. Much is made of homosexuality, which then and for a long time afterwards was considered to be deviant. Let it be noted that the word "perversion" was originally (in England in the 1850s) used to denote religious heresy, particularly Anglicans who converted to Catholicism. It was only with the rise of German/Austrian psychiatry in the 1880s that the word "perversion" came to be applied to sexual heresies. The religious origin of this word speaks volumes about the connection between religion and psychiatry. This book is hopelessly antiquated in its outlook, but still useful to the student of the history of sexuality, and still amusing to the idle reader who is looking for sensationalism.
Coming Out Straight by Richard Cohen
Cohen says that he is straight because he has a wife and kids. This proves nothing. John Addington Symonds had a wife and kids. Oscar Wilde had a wife and kids. Symonds and Wilde were both gay. (Look them up on the net.) When I was in my twenties, my homophobic mother pushed me into therapy with this woman who told me that the Americans were losing the war in Viet Nam because the Israelis were stealing the ammunition needed by our troops. This is what reparative therapists are like (not Cohen, of course, assuming him to be Jewish). These therapists are all Republicans -- I dare you to find one Democrat among them. It's all political! Their real worry is that your homosexuality will cause you to vote for Obama.
My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History by Allan Bérubé
I respect Berube for his research on lesbian/gay participation in WWII, but there is one essay in this collection that makes me see Red (pun intended). This is "How Gay Stays White and What Kind of White It Stays." It is ironic that Berube used to live in a trailer park, because you know that White people who commit the ultimate crime of identifying with their own race are generally imagined as living in trailer parks. Berube did not identify with his race. He had his homosexuality to identify with, and we all know that White gay men are expected to identify solely with their sexuality and never, never, never with their evil, wicked, mean and nasty race. Berube's conflict about his working-class origins and middle-class destination didn't help. Well, what is wrong about White gay men who identify both with their sexuality and with their impossibly evil race? I, for example, identify with both, and I don't even live in a trailer park. It doesn't faze me one bit to know that my race is impossibly evil, because my sexuality is also considered to be impossibly evil, and I couldn't care less.
The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness by Eric Klinenberg
Having just got finished with Black History Month and once again being annoyed that there is no White History Month, I now stumble across "White Studies." How did I manage all this time to miss this one? This is the usual crap. It is written by the usual radical leftists who identify the White race with what they call "racism" meaning (invariably) "White racism." I am so fed up with this obsessive denigration of White people! Those contributors who themselves are White are a sad bunch of self-hating losers. This whole book is disgusting. And yes, I have written the word White in this review every time with W instead of w. No, I don't live in a trailer park.
The Philosophy of Proclus: The Final Phase of Ancient Thought by Laurence Jay Rosán
I was a personal friend of the author, but lost contact with him ages ago. He seems to have been the only person in the academic world who was interested in Proclus. One would never guess from this book that Rosan had a highly controversial private life that wrecked his academic career.
The Leatherman's Handbook by Larry Townsend
I have never been into this scene, and never would be into it, for more than one reason. I used to be friends with a college professor of philosophy who was into this scene. I remember telling him in 1973 about seeing a copy of this book available at the local convenience store. My friendship with him soured after he tried to lure me to his apartment, apparently with intentions that I don't even want to think about. But I am not going to blame the whole community for what he was up to. Although I admit to having sadistic feelings, I have never acted upon them. What gets me about this scene is that it is supposedly a form of "sex" and yet it need not involve genital contact. I always thought that "sex" refers to genital contact. You know, the birds and the bees and all that. In any case, there seems to me to be a distinction between real sadism and this rather let's-pretend form of pseudo-sadism. Real sadism is Auschwitz. Anything that falls short of that is pseudo-sadism. Real sadism does not involve consent. To me, stuff like this book is merely an imitation of the real thing.
Classical Culture and Modern Masculinity (Classical Presences) by Daniel Orrells
I vaguely remember long ago seeing a one-page rant in which a female expert on the Greeks was scandalized when she went into a gift shop in Sparta and found a postcard showing a pretty boy. As Clarence Day put it, the problem with the study of the Greeks was that "professors in New England guard the glory that was Greece." In the 19th century, German and British professors and writers had to touch the subject of Greek pederasty with tongs and gloves. They all came from a Christian background, thus the Bible with its Benjamites and Sodomites cast a long shadow over their study of the Greeks. Compounding this was the sexual segregation of the boarding-schools and universities, which replicated one aspect of the Greek world, the very aspect that encouraged widespread situational homosexuality among students who were reading Plato in the original and thus learning a justification for what they were doing.
The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation by Shannon Gilreath
This review is from: The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation (Paperback) I find the word "Heteroarchy" to be just as silly as such words as "heterosexism" "heteronormativity" "homosociality" and all of the other neologisms that render absurd so many discussions of homosexuality. One surely doesn't need yet another strident leftist rant in which a link between capitalism and heterosexuality is attempted. Cambridge University Press ought to be ashamed of having published this. No wonder that it is common to refer to the non-academic world as the "real" world, for the permanent inhabitants of academia certainly don't seem to be in touch with reality.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
I first heard of this book when, at the age of 17, my best friend, a year older, told me about it. One year later, I read it as a college freshman. I have brushed up on it several times over the decades -- five decades to be exact. At first, to me it was simply a science-fiction novel. But as the years have rolled by, it seems to me that Orwell's nightmare has come true. This is true with regard to the endless wars, the shifting identity of the latest bogeyman, the lies that are our daily provender from all directions, the demonization of the individual, the internal spying, the hesitation to defy conventional thinking, the shifting definition of words, the dumbing down, state control of the media, the two-minute hate (called by another name, of course), all the jugglery with "truth" and so forth, it is all here and now. I hesitate to give concrete examples for fear that some of you will think that all of this is to be identified with certain factions, when in fact there is only ONE faction in our society, operating in unison like the tentacles of the octopus. It is not simply political correctness, it is everything. This is not something that can be voted out in an election. You will say that our students are taught this book as required reading, they have all been warned, we are on our guard, we cannot be deceived. You are deceived every day of your lives, you are surrounded by deception. You deceive yourselves in your very thinking. You think in Newspeak and do not know that this is what you are doing. I have seen this coming and it is before us and in us. You -- yes, even you -- love Big Brother.
Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Leon J. Podles
I have read a number of books on sex abuse of boys in the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, etc., and this is the most comprehensive (I am not a Catholic). There is a passage where the author says that he won't go into detail because he doesn't want to shock the reader. I beg your pardon! Where else in this book does he not shock the reader with details? It just goes on and on and on. I have my own term for this sort of abuse in general: I call it the Paedocaust (as in Holocaust). One is left astonished by the infinite hypocrisy of those who cloak their wickedness in religious terms (God wants you to let me do this to you.) One sort of wonders why it seems to be so easy to seduce boys by the carload. One would have thought that a repugnance for homosexual activity would have caused at least some of these boys to repulse the attackers. Nobody ever made a pass at me when I was growing up. I was rather the (male/male) teacher's pet when I was eleven, but he never touched me.
Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah E. Lipstadt
Voltaire said "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." What Lipstadt is saying is "I disagree with what you say, and I want you to spend seven years in prison just for saying it." I was born in 1943 and I have no personal knowledge of the Holocaust. I only know that many say that it happened, while a few have said that it did not happen as others claim. As a person who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of opinion, I find it outrageous that, with regard to this one historical event, laws have been passed to silence all doubters. Only if we posit the idea that the Jews are a Sacred Cow that must be protected from all criticism forever, can we agree that freedom of speech, the press and opinion must be denied to the deniers, but to no one else. Perhaps this makes sense in Israel, but this is America. It is the victors who write history, and we all know that lies have been told by some of the victors. Hearst lied about the Spanish on the eve of the Spanish-American war, for example. We have long since ceased to believe that the Spanish interrogated naked women in Cuba. What if there was a law that threatened people with prison for doubting Hearst? What if this law were to remain in effect forever? How could an honest history of Cuba be written while such a law hung over the necks of the historians? If the Holocaust really happened as we have been told, complete with the six million and the gas chambers, why is there a law against doubting it? Specifically speaking of the Germans, during the First World War, the allies claimed that German soldiers habitually killed Belgian babies with their bayonets. This is no longer believed by anyone. Perhaps there were other claims about the Germans that were also equally untrue.
Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France
This has long been a twice-told tale, nor is this the best telling. I read this book immediately after reading 'Sacrilege' by Leon Podles, and the France book clearly comes in second place by comparison. This is, after all, written by an editor from Newsweek. You can't expect such a writer to know how to write. All this gay stuff like the Stonewall riot is completely out of place in such a book. As for this being the Catholic church's worst nightmare, may I humbly point out that the church's worst-ever nightmare was the Protestant Reformation? You know, the little matter of the loss of all of northern Europe? The Catholic clergy has always been fond of boys. This has never really been a secret. The idea that we just found out about it a few decades ago is nonsense. Where have you all been, that this took you by surprise?
Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy by Joseph Nicolosi PhD
Homosexuality is only a problem for those who make it a problem. Reparative therapy has been outlawed in Ecuador; it should be outlawed everywhere. If you have a problem with your homosexuality, then just take a vow of chastity and keep it. Don't bother trying to get rid of it. Your relationship with your parents has nothing to do with it. All arguments against homosexuality are ultimately religious in origin; they are moral arguments. The use of medical concepts is merely an attempt to hide the Biblical origins of self-referent homophobia (gay self-rejection). On top of which, of course, is the fact that the therapist is trying to make money out of this.
The Battle for Normality: Self-Therapy for Homosexual Persons by G. J. M. van den Aardweg
All theories with regard to the "cause" of homosexuality are incorrect. It doesn't have a "cause" of any sort. All of you suffering people out there, you reviewers who moan and groan, get over it! I am a 68-year-old gay man who has not had a problem with my homosexuality since the 1960s, when it dawned on me that Christianity and psychotherapy are both rubbish. What the heck are you talking about? What problem? Don't you know that the divorce rate stands at 50% and the illegitimacy rate stands at 40%? Why are you so eager to rush to board a sinking ship? Heterosexuality is the Titanic, it is sinking and you want to be a passenger on it! I was never involved in my life with unsafe sexual practices, I was never in danger of AIDS. You can be gay without risk, it is really very simple. There are a few simple, common-sense rules, that is all. Stop giving your money to the priest and the therapist. Spend it on yourself. Stop being a confused, self-loathing idiot. There is nothing wrong with you. If it worked for me, it could work for you. Stop trying to run away from yourself.
When Homosexuality Hits Home: What to Do When a Loved One Says They're Gay by Joe Dallas
Too many gay teenagers have been thrown out of the house just for being what they are. But to keep them at home and rant at them would also be miserable. Barry Goldwater (Mister Conservative) changed his mind about homosexuality because his grandson was gay. Many of his fans felt that he had betrayed their ideals by loving his grandson! If you have to choose between your child and your God, maybe you have the wrong God.
The Gay Gospel?: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible by Joe Dallas
As an elderly gay agnostic with a religious pattern that has been all over the map, I will be objective enough to say that Dallas is partly right and partly wrong. He is right when he says that the Bible does not excuse homosexuality. I myself am greatly annoyed by those who say that the gay bits in the Bible have been "misunderstood." All too many gay men have reasoned themselves out of their guilt feelings only to die of AIDS. Exhibit A would be John Boswell (died 1994). I myself have never been into that sort of thing, the thing that gives you AIDS. Some of us are still alive! On the other hand, one of the greatest tragedies in human history was the replacement of paganism by a mutant form of Jewish monotheism. Christianity consists primarily of a demonization of the individual, of his body, of his needs and desires. This was bad enough, the centuries of the execution of hundreds or even thousands of homosexuals. But now in this watered-down world of ours, we get people like Dallas, who are actually not only not executed, but are allowed to say that execution is not the answer! I refer of course to Leviticus. You cannot have it both ways. Either the Bible is true and all homosexuals should be massacred, or else the Bible is Darwin-disproved nonsense and Gay is OK. Dallas is trying to seek a middle ground. There is no middle ground in the Bible. It is perhaps a bit awkward to end on a tangential note, but here goes. Have you never asked yourself why Paul never married and why he insisted that young Timothy be circumsized? Doesn't a man have to be naked while being circumsized? And wasn't Paul the one who did it to him, or at least stood there and watched?
The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction by Joe Dallas
How can you have a "Biblical and compassionate" response when the Bible's approach to SSA is the very opposite of compassionate? How do you read compassion into Leviticus? "Both of them shall surely be put to death." Do you know what this means? I will give you two examples. In 1609 in Seville Spain, a priest was found having abused a boy. Both the priest and the boy were put to death, even though today the boy would be counted as a victim. The boy was put to death because Leviticus says "BOTH of them shall be put to death" and the Spanish considered "both" to mean "the man and the boy." Next example, a young man in Florida spent 27 years in prison for making a pass at a man (1945 to 1972), even though he wouldn't have been arrested at all if he had made a pass at a woman. The judge was a Baptist. Pardon me if I fail to see the compassion in these two cases. I can certainly see the role that the Bible played in these cases, however.
===The story of the Catholic church by Cuthbert Wright
The author is more interesting than the book. Cuthbert Vail Wright (1891-1948) rubbed elbows with famous writers such as Cozzens, Cummings, dos Passos, etc., while remaining in the shadows himself. He was a poet and an educator. A fellow teacher at his prep school described him as "flamboyant, taking an Oscar Wilde pose, affecting a long cigarette holder, holding court for selected boys who interested him." Wright often pretended to have been born in 1898 or 1899, but it is more likely that the year was 1891 or 1892. He was an Episcopalian when he wrote this book.
Against the grain (Á rebours) Translated by John Howard. Introd. by Havelock Ellis by J.-K. Huysmans
This novel, in itself, is a masterpiece, but one must beware that not all translations are equal. Several episodes are missing. The French word Giton is translated as "depraved little girl" when in fact it means "depraved little boy." There are other problems with the translation. The curious reader is referred to the review of this edition by Cuthbert Wright in the March 1923 issue of The Dial.
Born That Way?: A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction With Insights for Friends, Families, and Leaders by Erin Eldridge
If it were not so tragic, it might almost be amusing to notice the parallel between books that tell you how to overcome SSA with the aid of Mormonism, and books that tell you how to overcome Mormonism with the aid of Baptist anti-cult "healers." I wonder if there are any gay/lesbian Mormons out there who learned how to escape from SSA, and then learned how to escape from Mormonism? If you can leave one thing, you can leave the other thing! If you unleash the dog, there's no telling where it might wander.
In Defense of Homosexuality: A Rational Evaluation of Social Prejudice by R.O.D. Benson
The paperback edition has the title What Every Homosexual Knows. This was published almost fifty years ago, so some of this may appear rather quaint. Benson (a pseudonym, certainly) starts out with chapters dealing with the claims that homosexuality is unnatural, sinful or sick. He proceeds then with further arguments. Viewed in the light of current doctrines, the one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the idea that "homosexuality constitutes one choice among several ethically defensive choices wherein one may select his own way of sexual life." Compare this to the current dogma that homosexuality is in ALL cases invariably a result of biological or genetic flukes, that all gay people are born that way, they can't help it, they would never choose it if it were a choice, etc.
The Wind and the Lion by John Milius
This is the spin-off from the movie. I lived in Morocco for more than a year 1966-67. I became very familiar with the land, its people and its history. A few years later, I went to see this movie and was dismayed by the historical inaccuracies, the absurdity of selecting an actor with a thick Scottish accent to play a Moroccan, and the blatant jingoism. If you don't know what "jingoism" is, look it up, or, better yet, if you think that Teddy is your kind of president, just ask yourself why you like a foreign policy that keeps us bogged down in endless wars in the Islamic world. As to the inaccuracies, well, for example, the Sultan was older than he is shown in the movie; waiters with knives in their backs do not tend to continue walking with the tray in their hands; there was no evil Bashaw of Tangier, and in any case the word "bashaw" is a 17th-century form of the word "pasha"; Teddy did NOT send the Marines to Morocco, they did not shoot down the bodyguard of the imaginary Bashaw, they did not force him at swordpoint to do anything for them; etc. etc. It is true that there was a locomotive in the Sultan's palace, however. I was an eyewitness to an event in the real world that casts a bright light on the sort of attitude that has gotten us into Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. I was on a train going across the Moroccan landscape, and we passed a cemetery. A young American leaned out from the open doorway of the carriage and urinated towards the cemetery. Imagine how you would feel if an Arab urinated on an American cemetery, and then reverse the situation and ask why so many foreigners hate Americans.
Walt Disney Pictures Presents Shipwrecked by B. B. Hiller
When Falck-Ytter's classic adventure novel Haakon Haakonsen (1873) was made into a movie by Disney, the movie tie-in should have been a translation of the Norwegian novel. Instead, the tie-in book was a hack novel by B. B. Hiller based on the screenplay. I have not been able to locate any copies of the Falck-Ytter novel for sale, not even in Norway. None of the people who reviewed the movie seem to be aware of this paperback, which includes some still shots of Stian Smestad. I have seen the movie. The gorilla in the movie becomes a small monkey in the book.
Sexual experience between men and boys: Exploring the pederast underground by Parker Rossman
Dr Parker Rossman was a clergyman and a professor at Yale. This is an early, classic study, complete with footnotes and bibliography, of a highly controversial subject. There are chapters devoted to history and cross-culture, but it is mostly about the modern Western world. Under the pen-name of "Jonathan Drake" Rossman also wrote 'Boys For Sale' in a lighter mood.
Boys for Sale: A Study of the Prostitution of Young Boys for Sexual Purposes by Dennis Drew
Although this book does not have the usual scholarly apparatus such as footnotes or bibliography, it is still very informative. The first part of the book is devoted to historical and cross-cultural descriptions around the world (but not in Latin America). The second part is devoted to modern America (USA). "Jonathan Drake" was the pen-name of Parker Rossman, who wrote another book under his real name about this subject.
Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church by Simon G. Southerton
Just two little comments. First, many early Spanish explorers claimed to have found tribes that spoke Hebrew. Second, Arthur Koestler in his book The Thirteenth Tribe has proven that the modern Jews are mostly descended, not from the Israelites, but from the Khazars, a Tartar tribe in southern Russia that underwent wholesale conversion to the Jewish religion, and then migrated into Lithuania, Poland, Germany, etc., thus becoming the Jews of today. So if the American Indians are not Israelites, the modern Jews themselves are also not Israelites. If you compare Indian DNA to modern Jewish DNA, you are not comparing Indians to Israelites, you are comparing Indians to Khazars.
The Poems of Digby Mackworth Dolben: Edited with a Memoir by Robert Bridges by Digby Mackworth; Robert Bridges, editor. Dolben
Digby Dolben (1848-67) was a homosexual poet who died at the age of 19. At age 17, he had been the object of Gerard Manley Hopkins' affection. His cousin, Robert Bridges, became the Poet Laureate and issued this botched edition of the poems of Dolben. Not all of the poems are here, and the memoir leaves out any mention of the homosexuality. Dolben might have become a major poet if he had lived, but as it is, he will be remembered as a minor figure in the history of homosexual literature.
No Title Available
This was the first and possibly only study of Giovanni Bazzi, detto Il Sodoma, at least in English. Dating from 1906, it was unlikely that Hobart Cust would agree that Sodoma would merit his nickname, but he overreacted and devoted a whole long chapter to attempting to prove that Bazzi had nothing to do with Sodom.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church- Heber J. Grant by Heber J. Grant
This is one of a series of books taught to the LDS faithful in unison, with the material arranged by subject. Grant was the father of the Prohibition Amendment, but the faithful voted in favor of repeal, an amazing act of insubordination that simply would not happen today. It was Grant who switched the Mormons from being Democrats to being Republicans. He didn't order them to switch, but a hint among Mormons is often (correctly) seen as an order.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church - David O. McKay by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
This is one of a series of books on the teachings of the LDS presidents, with the material arranged by subject. McKay was the first president since 1844 to be clean-shaven, ushering in a new tradition in spite of the fact that Jesus was bearded. The one anecdote about McKay, which of course is not included here, that sticks in my mind, is the one where he was asked when black men would get the priesthood. He is reputed to have said, "Don't hold your breath."
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church, John Taylor) by Intellectual Reserve
John Taylor, the president of the LDS church during the federal crackdown on polygamy, led a rather exciting life. During the martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram at Carthage Jail, Taylor was hit by seven bullets and yet survived. During his presidency, he fled into hiding as the feds invaded Utah -- one of those episodes in American history that they always "forget" to mention. Here we have his teachings as part of a general series. His teachings on plural marriage are left out, no doubt as part of the rewriting of Mormon history as a sop to the enemies of the church. If the current leadership would just stop caring what the neighbors think, Taylor might be seen in a more accurate light.
Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church - Brigham Young by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
This is one of a series of books taught to the faithful in unison, and condemned by the unfaithful in unison. The writings and speeches of Brigham are arranged by subject. There was a howl from the unfaithful when they saw that nowhere in this large book was there even the slightest mention of the very thing for which Brigham is most noted, namely plural marriage.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church Joseph F Smith by Church of lattter day Saints
The very patriarchal-looking Joseph F. Smith was president of the LDS church from 1901 to 1918. This is a collection of his writings and opinions, arranged by subject. He was as straight-laced as they come. "There are limits in our recreations beyond which we cannot safely go." (p. 374) At times I am at a loss to tell whether I am reading the opinions of Paul (saint Paul) or of JFS, they sound so very much alike. The faithful studied this book in unison in 1998 or thereabouts. It is part of a series of books, each one devoted to the teachings of a different LDS president.
John Davidson: A Selection of His Poems by John Davidson
John Davidson (not to be confused with the singer) was a Scottish poet of a century ago. He is one of the better poets of Scotland, admired by other writers, but never popular. He struggled to make ends meet. They did not, and he killed himself. This selection shows him at his finest, with "Thirty bob a week" "A runnable stag" "A woman and her son" etc. It is unfortunate that he never got into the American high school British literature textbooks, and is thus unknown.
THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION: PART I - OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE - BEING A HISTORY OF by Will Durant
This book starts out fine with a well-deserved condemnation of the ethnocentrism of Western historians who write a history of Europe and call it a history of the world. The rest of the book deals with "our" Oriental heritage; but who are the "we" implied by the word "our"? It turns out, of course, that "we" are Europeans and the European diaspora. So the very first word in this book is ethnocentric. What Durant gives us is pretty much what your high school world history textbook used to give you circa 1960. Flipping through the remaining volumes of his Story of Civilization, he abandons all of his good intentions as proclaimed in the first volume, and devotes himself entirely to Western Civilization, narrowing his focus in the later volumes to France: Louis XIV, Voltaire, Rousseau, Napoleon. He gets Asia out of the way in the first volume and then makes a beeline for Greece, Rome, etc. You just know that even if he had lived to be a hundred, he would never have devoted volumes to Africa or Latin America or Australia.
Might is Right or the Survival of the Fittest by Ragnar Redbeard
Although I have read the book, let me start with the 1905 ad quoted above. This is obviously nonsense. The influence of this book has probably been much less than claimed, and to say that presidents read this in manuscript is ridiculous. Now to the book. This is based on Nietzsche, but the style is overblown and hysterical in a way that one never finds in Nietzsche. It is certainly not watered down, however, to say the least. The author essentially gets it right, but he screams it out instead of quietly trying to convince the reader. As literature, this is nothing compared to the writings of the Scottish poet John Davidson (Mammon and His Message, etc.). It is all barking and snarling. I think that we are expected to believe that this book was published in 1896, but why then is there a reference at the very end to the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898? In any case, the author seems never to have risen to the top of the heap, or anywhere near it. If this philosophy did not work for him, how will it work for you? When did he ever have any "might"?
Max Beerbohm Caricatures by N. John Hall
As a book, this may be OK, but the caricatures themselves have been greatly overrated. In the first place, the viewer/reader has to know just who these people are who are being caricatured, he has to know what they really looked like, something about their lives, etc. In this present age of barbarous ignorance, when most people know nothing at all, the effect of these caricatures is lost completely. But even I, who know generally who these people were, don't much care for them. I get the vague sense that they just aren't funny, or at most are likely to produce no more than a tepid simper. This is what I noticed years ago about comic strips -- they just weren't funny. I used to look at them day after day in the newspaper, and gradually it dawned on me that I wasn't laughing. So eventually I stopped looking at them. The same with Max.
Lanterns On The Levee - Recollections Of A Planter's Son by William Alexander Percy
A modern reader may at first react to this beautiful book as if he had stumbled across the mummy of an antediluvian nobleman, complete with mummy wrappings in hieroglyphics that tell of life in the good old days before the Hittites came. But the Delta is not that of the Nile but of the Mississippi, and the Flood is not that of Noah but of 1927. The peasants are not the fellahin but the sharecroppers. This is the thrice-vanished world of the mint julep and the veranda, of Vardaman and Bilbo, of the Klan repulsed, the Belgians rescued, and Sewanee remembered. The style is not merely magnificent but perfect. The anecdotes are priceless. The tone is condescending without being aware of itself. The story of a besieged aristocracy in the midst of the wrangle between the Negro and the Redneck is gripping, although perhaps one could have wished that Percy might not have been quite so hostile to the latter. On page 99 of the Louisiana State edition, Percy quotes at length from a magnificent poem ("I dreamed last night of a dome of beaten gold...") and then calmly fails to identify the poet, as if it didn't matter. It was Stephen Phillips. There is a whole hilarious (except to the liberals) chapter on Fode, but the one thing that Percy doesn't say is that Fode was his boyfriend, along with some other black boys. Percy quotes none of his own poetry and tells you nothing about his homosexuality. He says nothing about his first (white) boyfriend, Harold Bruff. This silence is typical of the period. There is an introduction by Walker Percy that fails to convey the ingratitude that the latter felt towards his rescuer after the death of Walker's mother.
Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic (Cities of the Biblical World) by Elizabeth R Moberly
I am of two minds about reparative therapy, or rather about these struggles with homosexual feelings that these other reviewers are talking about. These people are in serious distress. I remember back in 1970 when an anonymous book called Straight was hooted down by the Gay press with no compassion at all for the author's pain. Such people are treated as renegades, and indeed they are renegades. But on the other hand, as a 68-year-old gay man who is comfortable with his feelings and memories, a man who is not struggling and never did struggle with his feelings, it irks me to see so much nonsense talked and written about a set of feelings that had nothing to do with your parents, and which should not be struggled against, certainly not in order to please a God who supposedly made two white people 6,000 years ago and thus somehow (via another white man named Noah) caused (without evolution) the eventual creation of the black and yellow races -- a pretty good trick! If the only reason you have for going to these headshrinkers is to please this white-into-black creation myth figure in the sky, forget it! There's nothing wrong with you. If it ain't busted, then don't fix it!
Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth by Jeffrey Satinover
Of course you will say that the laws of Nature were invented by the God of the Bible, the God who said that male homosexual behaviour was "an abomination" -- laws of Nature supposedly invented out of nothing a mere 6,000 years ago. Then you will tell me that these laws of Nature are a penal code that can be violated, and that sodomy is just such a violation. Well, if the laws of Nature can be violated, then just how do you violate the law of Gravity? Can you choose to ignore gravity by a simple act of will-power, floating up into the sky? OF COURSE NOT! The laws of Nature cannot be violated as if they were a penal code. Everything that exists is ipso facto natural. Please don't give me the old "carrot in the ear" argument. This book is just more of the same paranoid stuff you get on World Net Daily, the chitchat about the Agenda.
Homosexuality: A Symbolic Confusion by Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse
Reparative therapy has been outlawed in Ecuador and denounced by the American Psychiatric Association. It consists of tormenting brainwashed homosexuals until they reach some unrealistic point where they think they are beginning to please an unpleasable God. The late Warren Johansson rightly denounced this sort of thing as spiritual murder. Barnhouse's theory of the cause of homosexuality is complete nonsense.
Realm of the Incas (Mentor books, MD192. Ancient civilizations) by Victor Wolfgang Von Hagen
This is the place to go for the beginner to find out about the daily life of the Incas before the conquistadores came along and loused everything up. It is curious that so advanced a civilization never invented writing or the wheel.
The Vikings; translated and edited with an introduction by Alan Binns by Holger Arbman
This is a modest but useful illustrated book on the daily life of the Vikings. It is not a blood-and-thunder account of their battles and raids.
Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet Classics) by John Milton
It is commonly believed that Paradise Lost was written by Milton, but it would be closer to the mark to say that he was merely the translator, and that the poem consists of a medley of quotes from various Italian authors, especially Fra Serafino della Salandra (1595-1659), whom Milton met in Naples, and whose tragic poem Adamo Caduto (1647) is, in effect, the real Paradise Lost, transformed by Milton with additions from Ariosto, Tasso, Marino, etc. This is not to say that it is not a great poem, merely that Salandra is the real author.
The Song of Roland (Penguin Classics) by Anonymous
I suppose that the Sayers version is one of the best, although I have not read the others and therefore cannot compare them. This is a very gory book. The author, monsieur Anonyme, must have been a sadist, as he wades in gore on every page and goes into extreme detail about the killing of every Moor that the paladins can get their hands on. His hatred of the Saracens cannot entirely account for the almost monotonous kill kill kill descriptions we have here. One after the other the Moors are beheaded, dismembered, lanced, sworded, battle-axed, what have you. This is not a book for pacifists.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
This is of course one of the great all-time sci-fi classics, but I think that it might be very easy indeed for a modern American to miss the point. This was not written by an American. It was written 120 years ago by a conceited and opinionated Englishman living in a very class-ridden society that seemed set in granite. The whole point of the book is based upon the assumption that there shall never ever be any inbreeding between upstairs and downstairs people, the rich and the poor. Thus the upstairs people gradually evolve into the sappy Eloi, while the downstairs people evolve into the brutal Morlocks. Oh, I must tell you, fifty years ago I lived not far from a building with a well in the front yard, and the sign said "Morlock Realty" -- no, not a joke, it was a splendidly comical coincidence that delighted me and my high school friends as we went past it every morning on the bus. Anyway, Wells was one of these really obnoxious upstairs types with an almost pathological contempt for downstairs people. This is why he presents the downstairs people as cannibals and all that. Anybody living in an open, fluid society would never have written such a book.
Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima
As a gay man, I found it quite painful, almost nauseating, to read this book. The pathetic attempt of the protagonist to conform to a heterosexual ideal of which he is incapable is doomed to failure. He wastes his own time and the girl's time. It is somewhat uncanny to realize that all this is happening in a nation in which, up until the 1860s, the samurai and the monks were happily and unselfconsciously practicing the age-old paederastic traditions of Japan. This novel is a classic exposition of what the late Warren Johansson called "spiritual murder."
The author is by no means well-known in America today, and yet this is a masterpiece that deserves a wider readership -- wider than one (me). It is obviously about the tragic relationship between Peter the Great and his son Alexis. The main plot is alternated with a subplot about religious fanatics who see it as their duty to burn themselves up, although they have a hard time working up the courage to do it. The world of St Petersburg in its earliest days is brought vividly to life. One sympathizes with the hapless Alexis, who flees to Italy, only to be lured back to his doom.
The Gobi Desert - The adventures of three women travelling across the Gobi Desert in the 1920s by Mildred Cable
I read the first edition of this fascinating book in 1967 when I was living in Morocco. Although I had the exotic right at my doorstep, I went ahead and transported myself from Barbary to the Gobi and dwelt there in my imagination for awhile. This is a great book and hard to beat. But it must be understood that I did not read it to learn something, I read it to immerse myself in another form of the exotic, other than the one at my doorstep. It is rather hard to explain the psychology of this, but I just couldn't get enough.
The Book of Beasts : Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century by Terence Hanbury White
Although an annotated translation rather than an original book, this oddity deserves the attention of all lovers of the books of T. H. White, author of 'The Once and Future King' which served as the basis for Disney's Sword in the Stone and the musical Camelot. Here you have pious nonsense served up raw but delightfully. The medieval folk lived in a sort of fantasy world without realizing it. White was a gentle soul who is not here to make fun, or not too much fun, of the idiocies of the Middle Ages.
Great Novelists and Their Novels by W. Somerset Maugham
Maugham gives us a guided tour to the lives, personalities and books of ten great writers. This is admittedly not a scholarly work, nor was it intended to be so. But it gives you a quick tour to the best writers, sort of like one of those bus tours in Europe where you see a different country each day. If it's Tuesday, it must be Balzac.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure by Richard A. Lupoff
Oddly enough, I have never read a single one of Burroughs' books, but I did read Lupoff. Thus I know all there is to know about the unread books. I don't recommend that you imitate me. Of course you should read Burroughs, but read Lupoff first.
The Marquise of O and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) by Heinrich von Kleist
H. von Kleist is one of my favorite writers. He had "problems" and they shine darkly through all these magnificent stories, surely among the most brilliant ever written. Here is a world without mercy or pity. The novella 'Michael Kohlhaas' is particularly breathtaking. But the reader has to be intelligent. This is not for everyone.
The Pooh Perplex : A Freshman Casebook by Frederick Crews
I read this book before reading the Milne books to which it refers, nor was I particularly familiar with the critics who are parodied in it. I was thus often at somewhat of a loss to understand what Crews was getting at. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to one and all.
Breaking Point by Daphne Du Maurier
All of the stories in this collection are wonderful. I cannot praise them highly enough. It is too bad that this book is not better known. This fact is rather amazing when one considers the author's fame.
Norman Douglas: A Biography by Mark Holloway
Mark Holloway was not a biographer until he wrote this, and one regrets that he didn't make biography his primary calling. This is not a hagiography because Douglas was not a saint, but it praises most of his books to the skies and seeks to gloss over all his faults, some of which would be today considered grounds for calling him a monster. We get every possible detail of his life, including petty details that clog the book's arteries. His whole literary reputation depends on "South Wind" although his travel books were classics of their kind. He tended to be on the run from the law, and it is here that Holloway breaks ranks with the received opinions of the modern world. It was still possible in 1976 to write this book as it stands, but I dare say that it wouldn't pass muster today. Douglas was a paederast who formed numerous liaisons dangereuses with boys wherever he was, mostly but not entirely in Italy. He could seduce a kid at the drop of a hat. They would become lifelong friends and it is clear from this book that these relationships were by no means abusive. He obviously loved them and cared about their welfare, and they responded accordingly. He would get a boy to carry his luggage and they would end up lovers and friends til death did them part. This is not what people are expected to believe today about men like this. It doesn't prove that all paederasts are as nice as this, but Douglas could serve as a role model.
A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
If John Bunyan had been Scottish, he would have written this marvellous book instead of "The Pilgrim's Progress" and he would have been hanged for it. Fortunately for us, the spirit of the Covenanters drifted through the air for centuries, passing by James Hogg and George Macdonald until it alighted in the soul of one David Lindsay, perhaps mistaking him for the poet of the same name from long ago. This is drenched in the Calvinist spirit, but combined with a supremely rare genius wedded to a brilliant imagination. There is no other book like it, simply put. It is science-fiction only in the sense that C. S. Lewis could be said to have written science-fiction. Don't bother to try to figure out who or what the characters represent. Maskull is no more a person than Bunyan's Apollyon was a person. They are all allegorical figures and 17th century allegorical figures at that. This is what a Covenanter would have written if it had been legal in Scotland to write fiction in circa 1680. It was on a dark evening long ago that I was treading through the snow and entered the Georgetown Library. I browsed the science-fiction section and this book caught my eye. It was the edition with an introduction by Colin Wilson. I settled into a comfy chair and read the intro. I made a mental note to one day read the novel itself, for I was just passing through and could not check it out. One day I did read it and was absolutely overwhelmed. The feeling of awe that I was left with on the final page was unique in my reading experience.
The Worm Ouroboros
I would have given this book six stars if it were possible. This will never be taught in universities. The critics and academics don't know about it, and if they did know about it, they would say that it isn't realistic or leftist, and therefore should be ignored. Edward Wagenknecht mentioned it in "Cavalcade of the English Novel" long ago, but nobody listened. Edmund Wilson would have done a hatchet job on it. It is as out of sync with the modern spirit as it is possible to be. It views the world through the same eyes as those of Homer's warriors or of the Vikings. Nietzsche would have understood. I need hardly repeat the objections to Lessingham and the childish names of the kingdoms. This is not Mercury. But it doesn't matter. The reader basically has to imagine that this book was really written by Shakespeare and the manuscript somehow got mislaid for three centuries until Eddison found it and pretended that he was the author. I don't want to go off on a rant about the modern world, but there was a time when the vox populi was silent amid the clash of steel; the only value system that counted was that of the elite; and not an elite that went to Oxford or Cambridge, but an elite that went to Troy or Carthage or Persepolis or Xanadu. At about the age of thirteen, my hero was Genghis Khan. It is in the spirit of such a choice of heroes that this book was written.
Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon by Robert D. Anderson
Garbage in, garbage out. I consider psychoanalysis to be a set of ridiculous and false doctrines invented by a hoaxer and charlatan named Sigmund Freud. Thus, to attempt at the distance of 200 years to read the mind of the Sphinx of Nauvoo, and to attempt this reading within the context of Freudian humbuggery, is to turn truth on its head. The question is, how does a fraudulent system serve as a context for proving that another system is fraudulent? People in glass houses throwing rocks!
The Pipes are Calling by Donald Barr Chidsey
I read this when I was about 15. It is a brief historical novel about the Jacobites. I enjoyed it, but of course it doesn't compare to Sir Walter Scott's Waverley.
The swordsman (Cardinal edition) by Jefferson Cooper
The author's real name was Gardner Fox. This is the account of Baibars the Kipchak, who goes to Egypt, founds the Mamluk regime, defeats the Crusaders, and gets the girl. I enjoyed the novel when I was about 13.
The Lion in the North: One Thousand Years of Scotlands History by John Prebble
As a Scottish-American, I was annoyed at the tone of this book, which is essentially written from the enemy (i.e. the English) viewpoint. We get no glee from Prebble when the Scots win at Bannockburn, and we get no sympathy from him when the Scots lose at Flodden. There is really no need for a Scot to read this book unless he is practicing his self-hatred, otherwise known as the Scottish cringe.
The Hermit of Peking : The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse by Hugh Trevor-Roper
This fascinating book tells of the evil, wicked, mean and nasty Edmund Backhouse, pathological liar, and apparently the cause of the fall of the Manchu dynasty. He had a rich imagination, as was revealed in his memoirs, wherein he says that he was Verlaine's boyfriend, the Dowager Empress' boyfriend, and who knows what else.
A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing by H. L. Mencken
It is now fifty years since I discovered Mencken in my college days. I did not know what the heck a chrestomathy was, but it seemed to refer to books that were very large. As a Southerner, I resented Mencken's Sahara of the Bozart, and resented it all the more for the truth of it. But I figured that any man who admired James Branch Cabell couldn't be all that evil. After all, I had been born in Richmond and Cabell was from Richmond, so any friend of Cabell's was a friend of mine. On once again reading the Sahara of the Bozart (it had taken me some time to get the beaux arts pun), I am struck by the blatant racism of his mocking references to smaller European countries, such as Albania. But in those days there was no political correctness, and he would have lunged at it like a hyena if it had existed. I was disturbed by his vicious attitude about the death of William Jennings Bryan, who was guilty of attacking evolution. He was a mortal foe of Prohibition, inhibition and every other breed of 'bition that you can think of. He apparently slept with a cigar in his lips, a neat trick, but I am sure he managed it quite well.
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Vintage) by Barack Obama
This book is not written by a human being, it is written by a politician running for office, afraid of offending swing voters by actually standing for something definite (other than being elected). One gets the impression that Chairman BHO learned all his lessons in flipfloppery, feel-good piffle and general all-around wishy-washiness by sitting at the feet of Mitt Romney. That God (or the next best thing, whichever comes first) should have learned all his tricks from the Devil should come as no surprise. There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Dems and the Reps, and if you think there is, the more fool you.
Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare
Nobody can deny that there are a lot of obnoxious people in the world. This, however, does not mean that you ought to lump them all together and give them a psychiatric label. Taking a bunch of random anecdotes about obnoxious behavior and then claiming that all of these creeps have a syndrome is perhaps to create a sort of illusion. The idea that obnoxious behavior is a discrete clinical entity is open to question. If it is a sickness for a serial killer to fail to empathize with his victims, then why is it not a sickness for military men to fail to empathize when they drop bombs on civilians? We do not take the crew that bombed Hiroshima and call them psychopaths.
The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History by Hugh Trevor-Roper
At first sight, this awful book appears to be written under the influence of Social Constructionism. But Trevor-Roper was not a social constructionist in any of his other books. One must therefore assume that he simply hated and/or despised the Scots, as have so many of the English down through the centuries. See Adam Sisman's biography of him for more details.
An Honourable Englishman: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper by Adam Sisman
This is a brilliant biography of a man who was not always likeable. Trevor-Roper's arrogant dismissal of African and Central Asian history as being either non-existent or irrelevant; his hatred of Scotland; his needless feuds with his fellow historians; his nasty treatment of his step-children; his smug assumption of Oxford as being the centre of the universe; his conceit; his failure to write the Big Book; all this is detailed in this fascinating study of an academic beetle under the microscope of a dedicated biographer. There are a few stray hints that Trevor-Roper may have been bisexual, but this is never developed or explained. If this historian had seen history as a cooperative effort and not as a contest between rivals, perhaps he could have made a greater contribution. But his grossly racist attitude toward Africans, Scots and so forth probably would still have hampered him.
The Invention of Heterosexuality by Jonathan Katz
If people like Katz would just stop and take a look at their bodies and think about the implications of their anatomy, they might not write such nonsense as this. Let's take it from the top. All gendered species, whether human, animal, bird, fish or insect, are OBVIOUSLY designed with procreation in mind. There would be no point to gender except within the context of procreative intent. I understand that the wording of my remarks - "designed", "in mind", "intent" - seems to imply a god who created the species, designing them with intent in mind. You will then tell me that my remarks make no sense from an atheistic viewpoint, and perhaps you would be correct. Yet, god or no god, gender still makes no sense outside of the context of procreation. Therefore, all gendered bodies are procreative bodies, and all procreative bodies are heterosexual bodies, including the bodies of all gay men and lesbians. There is no such thing as homosexual anatomy. I am a gay man and all my sexual partners have been male, nor do I repent of my behavior, but what I have done with men has been done with a heterosexual body. You are what your body is. All bodies are heterosexual, therefore everyone is heterosexual, no matter what you do in bed or with whom you do it.
Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank
This Social Constructionist nonsense has long since gotten totally out of hand. If a pack of dogs existed on a desert island, would the dogs be "invented" only at the moment when some human being stepped ashore and said the word "dog"? One could give an infinite number of such examples. If heterosexuals were invented and did not exist prior to the word, does this also mean that cisgendered people were invented and did not exist prior to the word? (Cisgendered people are the whole human race minus transsexuals.) What about gentiles? Did they not exist until the Jews "invented" them? It would appear that these words posted just a few days ago have disturbed some type of anthill. I have examined the author's website and blog, and I find that her opinions about everything - not just heterosexuality, but everything - are so utterly ridiculous that there is no point in trying to argue with such people. Two plus two does not equal five, people! It is not a crime for me to say that two plus two equals four. The ants can swarm all over me, but the truth is the truth and I refuse to budge one inch.
The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays: The White Devil; The Duchess of Malfi; The Devil's Law-Case; A Cure for a Cuckold (Oxford World's Classics) by John Webster
John Webster, of whom little is known, was the third figure in the great triumvirate of dramatic geniuses in England 400 years ago - Marlowe, Shakespeare and Webster. Like Hamlet, The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, are (a) magnificent and (b) very violent, with practically the whole cast being killed off. "Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young" - a phrase worthy of Shakespeare, but no! It is Webster. This is probably the most brilliant phrase in all of dramatic literature. Italy is presented as a very evil region, the Hell of the Borgias and the Machiavellis. The other two plays in this volume are also worth reading.
Gay Life & Culture: A World History by Robert Aldrich
It is painfully obvious that the academic world has fallen into the hands of incompetents who cannot see beyond the ends of their noses, either geographical or temporal, either space or time. We are given a view that is extraordinarily myopic. Brazil, Afghanistan, Indonesia, where are they? Where is Leonardo da Vinci? Where is Patrick White? This book has no right to call itself a "world" history. We get a view of the Greeks from a very unGreek viewpoint. It is amusing to see the Australian editor refer to his own country as "the Antipodes" - as if he were viewing himself from England! And never do the scholars question the received moral code of our own time and place, as if they alone are the only persons in history who got it right, and everybody else was a fool.
Outsiders: A Study in Life and Letters by Hans Mayer
The outsiders of the title are women, homosexuals and Jews. The section on homosexuals is very homophobic, all the more shameful for having been written by an intellectual who was himself homosexual. His view of homosexuality in ancient Greece is complete nonsense. He presents the Greeks as having exactly the same attitude as the Israelites, as if the Greeks had the Bible as a guide.
A Brother's Touch: 20th Anniversary Edition by Owen Levy
This murder mystery was greeted with howls of outrage by the gay community when it first came out. But if one compares it to the real-life picture of the same milieu given by Trudee Able-Peterson in her book "Children of the Evening' (1981), one is struck by the extraordinary similarity.
Final Things by Richard Bruce Wright
Two gay men get high and under the influence of marijuana, pornography and homosexuality, they rape and murder a boy of twelve. The father goes after them and all three die violently. This novel reads like a tract from the extreme right, demonizing marijuana, pornography and homosexuality by connecting them with a horrid crime, and giving the reader the broad hint that lynching is the solution to all such things.
Alastair, Illustrator of Decadence by Alastair
Alastair was an effeminate eccentric, looking somewhat like Edith Sitwell in the role of Pierrot, with an artistic style similar to Beardsley's or Harry Clarke's or Mahlon Blaine's, an overdecorative flamboyant style usually labelled decadent.
Wild Man (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies) by Tobias Schneebaum
The author grew up in New York and became a gay man wno roamed the globe in search of the savage, the exotic, the primitive, everything opposite to what he was used to at home. He understands that his questing in this fashion has something to do with his homosexuality, but he fails to properly explain the connection.
The Thirties: From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period by Edmund Wilson
Wilson, the grand panjandrum of highbrow literature for too many decades, the bete noir of the neo-romantics, the Stalinist, was not one of my favorite people when I was in college fifty years ago. He comes across in this book as racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. He also muses on his own repressed gay feelings.
Tom Brown's Universe by J. R. De S. Honey
This gives a complete view of the boarding schools of England in the 19th century. I visited Eton briefly in 1967 and found it beautiful and charming. I was trespassing, but there was nobody around. There are three chapters on sex, which of necessity means situational homosexuality. The author makes no attempt to analyze the psychology of heterosexuals engaging in extensive homosexual conduct. There is a double system of footnotes which results in footnotes that have footnotes of their own.
Sir Richard Burton: A Biography by Michael Hastings
Hastings wrote the script for "The Search for the Nile", a six-part TV series circa 1970. He does not deal satisfactorily with Burton's homosexuality. There are no footnotes, the style is irritatingly clever, and Hastings never met a tangent he didn't like.
Beaton by James Danziger (Edited By and Text)
This review refers to the 1980 edition. It had fifty pages of text followed by 200 photos. Nothing is said about Beaton's homosexuality, which is in line with Beaton's own closety approach to himself.
Tangier by William Bayer
Tangier was one of my favorite places to hang out when I was living in Morocco in 1967. Bayer drenches this novel in homophobia until it stinks. The local boys are being exploited by rich foreign pederasts who abuse and toss aside all of the boys, until finally there is a revolt. Yeah sure. When was the last time you heard of hustlers riot against their customers? The police chief tries to get rid of the foreigners. All of the pederasts are portrayed as cynical devils. The author seems to have a socialist agenda, which he combines with homophobia.
The Nude Male: A New Perspective by Margaret Walters
Although straight females have been known to appreciate male nudes, it almost goes without saying that the male nude in art is primarily a gay thing, and for this survey to be written by a woman instead of a gay man simply won't do. She leaves out all sorts of artists.
Hidden Heritage - History and the Gay Imagination by Byrne Fone
This curiously antiquated anthology of writings by or about male homosexuals may be useful to the newcomer, but it simply will not do for the advanced student. Fone relies much too much on 19th century writings and translations, including expurgated material that has long since been replaced. One could have easily produced exactly the same text in 1930.
Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography by Ian Young
I have the second edition (1982) and I think there is a third one. One slight problem which I see with the list is that the reader often cannot tell when these books first appeared, and there are some very old editions where there is no indication of a later one. This is confusing to those not familiar with these writers. The four essays at the end are very instructive. The essay by Rictor Norton on censorship needs to be read by all gay men.
This is Peyrefitte's most famous novel, about a homosexual relationship between an older and a younger boy at a boarding school. It was made into a movie. Oddly, the only copy of this novel that I ever came across was a Spanish translation published in Argentina, so I read it neither in French nor in English, but in Spanish.
The Exile of Capri by Roger Peyrefitte
This is a fictional account of the life of a real person, the decadent pederast Count Fersen, who lived on Capri because even the French would not tolerate him. The key to the mysteries surrounding this novel are to be found in a long and excellent article available on the internet, by Will H. L. Ogrinc, 'Frere Jacques: A Shrine to Love and Sorrow', which may be accessed from the bottom of the wikipedia article on Jacques d'Adelsward-Fersen.
The Young Male Figure. In paintings, sculptures, and drawings from ancient Egypt to the present by Brandt Aymar
A number of histories or pictorial surveys of paintings and statues of young males, obviously aimed at a gay readership, have been published. This is one of the earlier ones. All of the illustrations are in black and white. The author shied away generally from directly discussing homosexuality. Some of the images are nude, some clothed. The images tend to be disappointing in comparison with the originals, e.g., Washington Allston's Italian Shepherd Boy, which I saw in an exhibit. The reader gets a somewhat faint idea of the beauty of the original, spoiled by the smallness of the image and the lack of color.
Bibliography of the Writings of John Addington Symonds by Babington (Percy L)
This is an apparently complete bibliography of the writings of J. A. Symonds, who is mostly remembered today as a precursor of the homosexual rights movement. It was produced with the generous assistance of Horatio Brown, the executor of the Symonds estate.
Footnote to the Nineties by Brocard Sewell
The British, some of them, have a fascination with the 1890s that has no counterpart among Americans. This slim book is aimed at readers who have this fascination. Behind all the glitter and noise of the Oscar Wilde industry, we find two minor figures who went off to Edinburgh and lived lives of chastity and friendship. These were John Gray, a poet turned priest; and Andre Raffalovich, poet turned criminologist. They were converts to Catholicism. If they were lovers, it was a very platonic relationship.
The Boys In The Band by Crowley Mart
This is a clever play that enjoyed enormous success some forty years ago, ten years before AIDS and before gay people dared to hope that they would ever be accepted. It presents us with a slice of gay male life as it was back then. It deals with the spiritual aridity of gay life among a group of gay men meeting to celebrate the birthday of one of them, who is presented with a young hustler as a gift. None of these men are getting anywhere. Although the obligatory suicide or murder is missing from this play, it still presents a damning view of homosexuality that must have pleased the moralists. There is no mention of the budding gay rights movement, which got off the ground between the play and the movie, but one can be sure that these losers would never have joined the movement anyway. It reminds me of a gay party I attended in 1976. Everybody there was drunk except me. They were staggering around talking nonsense about how respectable they had become. They were just as demoralized as the guys in the play.
How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth by Gal Luft
How to achieve a heaven on earth is not a question that can be answered by the likes of Obama and 100 other do-gooders and fat cats. For one thing, where is the input in this collection from any Islamic leaders? Is this heaven on earth something that is to be imposed by force as usual? How many American troops will be needed? How much taxpayer money will it cost? Do we have the cooperation of the Chinese or the Russians? Let me give the 101 know-it-alls a challenge: Solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and then report back to me. Then, if you have solved this, I will send you forth to solve all other problems. Did it never occur to you that one man's idea of heaven is another man's idea of hell? I forget the author, but I vaguely remember a poem that includes "... you silly child, You must alter human nature, And they all sat back and smiled." The very title of this book is enough to make me laugh, and the list of contributors completes the joke.
Blue Boys (Gay Verse) by Edmund John
This is a modest collection of Uranian poetry written by three poets who were discussed by Timothy d'Arch Smith in "Love in Earnest" (1970). He made the mistake of thinking that Wright was British, when in fact he was American. This mistake seems to account for his being included here.