MAJOR CONFLICT: One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military

Jeffrey McGowan, Author . Broadway $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1899-2

A Desert Storm veteran looks back on the years he sacrificed his identity to his career. Growing up in Queens, McGowan always wanted to be a soldier, but he "couldn't be gay because soldiers aren't gay." That rationale tortured him as he enrolled in Fordham University's ROTC program and felt agonizing longing for Greg, a co-worker at a bookstore. When McGowan joined the army in the late 1980s, "the military was like a college football player, pumped up and ripped on steroids, " and he had "somehow managed to stuff the genie that Greg had nearly succeeded in freeing forcefully back into the proverbial bottle of my own denial." (This genie should get overtime for all its play in this memoir.) McGowan served first in Germany; during Desert Storm, he tried to sublimate his crush on a gorgeous fellow officer. But the "don't ask don't tell" policy created an inadvertent pogrom, he says, as sexual conservatives in the service played dirty to smoke out the hidden "perverts." Though McGowan was not implicated, the double-dealing and cowardice of others sickened him, and he retired in 1998. McGowan is not always a graceful writer ("the only anecdote [sic]," he tells us, "for this strain of senseless tragedy that so often infects the world, is love, family"), but his style is familiar and easy, as if he's confiding his experiences to a trusted friend. Agent, Ian Kleinert at the Literary Group . (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/07/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 174 pages - 978-0-307-41911-8
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