Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World Hardcover – May 3, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The sheer ambition of this book is breathtaking. While it ranges mainly through Western Europe and America, it travels as far as Russia and Japan. In fact, if any criticism could be raised, is that at 339 pages of text, the book is far too short.
Mr Woods is not an impassive academician and his ire at the history of injustices often infiltrate the text as editorial asides. This can be seen either as a flaw or a relief depending on one's own point of view.
The writing is jargon-free and the sheer accumulation of fact and anecdote gathered together in one volume (the bibliography is 22 pages of sources listed in very fine print and there are 40 pages of closely printed notes, making any rare errors both unsurprising and negligible in the vast scheme of things) helps make this a major work of scholarship. This volume can easily sit on the same shelf as such works as Chauncey's Gay New York and will become a touchstone reference of gay cultural history for years to come.
Much more disturbingly, at the end of that list he also includes T. S. Eliot and Jean Verdenal to whom Eliot dedicated his Prufrock and Other
Observations. This claim is based first on an article published by John Peter that Eliot had suppressed which was later expanded upon by James Miller in his T. S. Eliot's Personal Waste Land, a farrago of over readings, conjectures, confusions of poetry with biography, and so on. It is a notion which has been thoroughly discredited. T.S. Eliot was undoubtedly heterosexual, however beset by sexual anxieties as the biographies on him all cite. He and Verdenal were friends. But that was the end of it. In other words, Woods has relied either on gossip or bad sources.
These mistakes are in some ways trivial, in others significant. I found my trust in the book undermined. I lost confidence in what it said. Some of its many claims and statements are substantiated, mostly by secondary, not primary sources. Too many others are not. Woods asks you to trust him. He insists at the beginning of the book that he is a poet, not a scholar, and that his book should be so read. But errors and mis-statements dog his work, as they did his earlier Articulate Flesh. There's too much he seems to accept that ought to be ascribed more to rumor than to sound historical work, and he sometimes reads more into what is known than is warranted. To claim poetic license, whatever that phrase might mean, for a work which nonetheless presents itself as a kind of history is strange. It's a dodge, a bit like Larry Kramer's claiming his recent book is both history and fiction when it is neither.
Perhaps this book would be better if it had had a better fact checker. (What has gone wrong at Yale University Press anyway?) But its gossipy tone throughout is off putting in itself. There's something in its style that seems to be winking at you and giving you little, knowing nudges. Some may enjoy that informality. I didn't. So be it. But in a book of this sort I want to have the sense that the writer is at least getting his facts right. From the get go, this one lets you know that he isn't going to bother.