FINALIST FOR THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE IN HISTORY. INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER.
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Winner of the 2021 Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction. One of The Washington Post's Top 50 Nonfiction Books of 2020.
From a young Harvard- and Cambridge-trained historian, and the Creator and Executive Producer of The Book of Queer (coming June 2022 to Discovery+), the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall.
In 1957, Frank Kameny, a rising astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back.
Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, Eric Cervini's The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.
Couldn’t put it down
I loved this book. I enjoy history and in learning the almost lost history of the LGBTQ was fascinating, heartbreaking, and inspirational to anyone who reads this book. I recommend this to any ally to the LGBTQ community to help understand what was happening before the stonewall riots and what continued in its aftermath. This book was well written and just captivated me from beginning to end.
Pre-Stonewall LGBT history.
Very well documented account of the those who ACTUALLY began the civil rights movement for this community. Have long known about the discrimination & purges, but for the first time I learned the names of the people who fought it. You can tell, though, that this was originally a dissertation/thesis/academic writing. The focus is on providing as many names, cases, events as possible. Wished there had been more depth to it though. Never felt like I ended up knowing the focus of the text, Frank Kameny, as a person, much less any of the other secondarily significant activists.
Powerful & Important
Well researched and important historical book. Addicting to read and inspiring to call for social activism.