on December 4, 2011
I will give this book the five stars it deserves for being so well-written and researched. However, the political and social viewpoints of both Carpenter and Rowbotham are quite far from my own, and I can only admire such people from a vague, general standpoint. As a gay man, and owning several of Carpenter's books, I admit that I owe a great debt to Carpenter for his work as a pioneer of gay lib. But I also know that Orwell was so right in his sarcastic comment about crankish, sandal-wearing leftists, a direct reference to Carpenter. One thing above all others that irritates me about Carpenter's sexual theories is the almost bizarre degree of self-delusion that led him to justify relationships between a middle-class man and a working-class man by claiming that such relationships were "democratic" in their crossing of class boundaries. Was he somehow oblivious to the fact that when a middle-class man picks up a prostitute, they are crossing class boundaries? I myself have (in the distant past) picked up young men from the gutter, quite literally, and this was surely a crossing of class boundaries, but I never thought of it as "democratic" or socialistic or revolutionary, and most certainly never thought of it as a species of Marxism in action.