The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation

Arthur D. Kahn, Author
Arthur D. Kahn, Author Praeger Publishers $69.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-275-95366-9
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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At a point late in the book, the author quotes himself as telling one of his interviewees that he may not be the ideal person to write this book. Unfortunately, this proves to be his single most astute insight in this survey, which seeks to present a picture of gay activism in America today. Partially because the interview sample was taken exclusively from New York City, and mostly as a result of Colgate University classics professor emeritus Kahn's inability to communicate through his writing, little is achieved with this book. Derived from interviews conducted in the early '90s, this compendium comes across as a string of largely unrelated, unanalyzed anecdotes. The author does not distinguish between salient and irrelevant details, and he lacks skill in reporting, synthesizing and creating narratives. Though the project is an interesting and potentially worthy one--Kahn does include the results of extensive interviews with gay men and lesbians, African Americans, Jews and Latinos, rich and poor, conservatives and liberals--surprisingly little information is conveyed, and, as a result, little understanding is created. (Mar.)
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