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Guilty As Charged: The True Story of a Gay Beret Paperback – November 1, 2001
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Firmly places the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy within the larger scope of civil rights. Issue comes alive. -- Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, Wordweaving
Gay or straight readers will find this work an excellent example of one man's struggle against the unfair military. -- m.j.hollingshead
Long before "Don't ask, don't tell" became military policy, truly brave soldiers like Hatheway fought the good fight but lost. -- Gay Chicago Magazine
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Even so, Hatheway felt relatively safe for a time as he met other gay men discreetly for sex at his unit in Bod Tolz, Germany, and elsewhere. Homosexual activity, he found, was more common than he first thought. Gays still had to be careful: there were several really gung-ho men who got wacked out about them. But if you didn't get caught, it wasn't all that bad.
Unfortunately, that's what happened to Hatheway. Just days before he was due to be discharged, an enlisted man invited him to his room for a drink. A bottle of scotch later, they found themselves in a sexual situation. Nothing unusual, until one of the man's roommates barged in. Hatheway's entire future blew up before his eyes.
His careful recounting of the subsequent ordeal is fascinating, particularly his allegations of military misconduct in the prosecution of the trial. If true (and we have no reason to believe they aren't), they're deeply disturbing. Hatheway was lucky he didn't end up at Leavenworth. Instead, he became a successful professor of German history at a college in Wisconsin.
Someday America's gays and lesbians will be able to serve their country without having to sneak around. Look for it to happen in about 2025. But it may take a couple of generations after that before the American military stops treating them like it did Hatheway. The monster of homophobia isn't going to die an easy death in that super-macho atmosphere. I know.
There is an inclination to think of Jack Nicholson's despicable character in A Few Good Men, but Guilty As Charged is especially vile in that it lays bare the military's bent for public degradation and humiliation of a gay man -- by innuendo and inference. Hatheway's chiling story just quite possibly could have been our own. The telling is painfully detailed.
Hatheway never denies to the reader that he has engaged in homosexual activities; the focus here is on the trumped up charges brought against him two decades before the Clinton compromise of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In the military, fraternizing with subordinates is one matter of concern; sex between men -- actual or presumed -- is tantamount to treason.
Now it's Hatheway's turn, and he takes us from the cool marble of boyhood infatuation to the companionship of flesh without fatigues that also defines "Special" Forces. Except for names and places, his story could be mine -- or yours.
-- Stonewall News Northwest
--Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, WordWeaving...
"This is a terrific look at the justice system gone horribly wrong. Whether you agree with the concept of gays and lesbians serving in the military or not, this is a story that you can't afford to pass up reading, and may very well affect the way you approach this hot topic in the future. Well worth the read!"