The Gay Metropolis: 1940-1996

Charles Kaiser, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $27 (404p) ISBN 978-0-395-65781-2
Former New York Times reporter and Newsweek editor Kaiser's book on the evolution of the American gay community is a monumental work. Like George Chauncey's Gay New York and many other products of the current popularity of gay studies and gay history, Kaiser's book is at once expansive and specific, willing to draw cultural, historical and judicial correspondences previous reporters and historians avoided, given the traditional distaste for linking people and events homosexually. Though this effort is one of the book's strengths, it also becomes one of its most persistent weaknesses as Kaiser attempts to fit his tidbits in, disrupting the flow and logic of his narrative. But news of a threesome in which John F. Kennedy engaged with Broadway producer Michael Butler or of West Side Story co-creator Arthur Laurents's four-year relationship with actor Farley Granger are just about titillating enough for the structural imprudence to be forgiven. Though Kaiser does not make a concerted or effective case for the existence of the borderless American gay metropolis that the title is meant to conjure, the decade-by-decade breakdown of people and events provides an excellent portrait of the urban gay community. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-0-8021-4317-4
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-15-600617-0
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-55584-831-6
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