Boyopolis: Sex and Politics in Gay Eastern Europe

Stan Persky, Author
Stan Persky, Author Overlook Press $26.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-87951-690-1
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Gay Canadian journalist Persky's travelogue, extending from Berlin to Budapest between 1989 and 1995, is primarily a firsthand, impressionistic account of the social and economic chaos and new freedoms following the fall of Communism, yet he also injects graphic accounts of his own sexual adventures, bringing to light a homosexual subculture flourishing in gay bars and cafes across eastern and central Europe. A professor of philosophy in Vancouver, Persky meets ""enigmatic, oracular"" Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, debates politics with Hungarian post-Communist thinker Miklos Haraszti and encounters artists, dissidents, die-hard communists, human rights activists. A left-of-center journalist, he nevertheless welcomes the ""economic shock therapy"" of Poland's free-market plan. In one illustrated essay, German photographer Herbert List's idealized 1930s portraits of young boys along the Baltic coast serve as a springboard for Persky's free-form meditations on bodily desire and its suppression, on straight prostitution, homosexual hustling, Nazism, his Jewish heritage and working-class Chicago boyhood and the politics of gay liberation. Photos. (Sept.)
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