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Queer Places, Vol. 1.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World (Queer Places USA) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 24, 2016
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Elisa Rolle is an historian who has done her homework. The openly queer writer and editor is authoring a series of books which documentthe history of Queer culture and the people who made that culturehappen.
Her 2014 book "Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story At ATime," chronicles the lives and loves of those who came before us. Withthat book, Rolle took us on a journey back in time, across the 20th,19th and 18th centuries - and much further back - to revisit the livesof people who were known or believed to have been LGBT.
That book was a fascinating read which offered a few startlingsurprises, such as the inclusion of blind/deaf author/educator HelenKeller and Annie Sullivan, the woman who taught Keller how to readbraille and to communicate. Other than Sullivan's short lived, failedmarriage in 1905, she and Keller lived together exclusively for 49years. Is it really a stretch to believe that they may have loved eachother?
In Rolle's latest book "Queer Places: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQPeople Around the World," Volume 1, Rolle serves as our travel agent,taking us on a trip to all fifty states. Rolle is our tour guide as wevisit the homes, birthplaces and gravesites of many of the historicalfigures we learned about in her earlier book. Volume 1 covers the U.S.The yet to be published Volume II will trace the steps of LGBT people in the United Kingdom, while Volume III will journey across the rest ofthe world.
Queer Places begins with Keller and Sullivan. Rolle takes us to IvyGreen, the Alabama estate where Keller was born in 1880. As we see thehouse where Keller lost her sight and hearing, and where she first metSullivan, the author once again recounts the story of theirrelationship. Rolle then continues onward, letting us know where otherQueer Alabamians lived, and where LGBT people can go to find otherQueers when visiting the state.
Later on in the book, in the section devoted to Washington DC, Rolleshows us where Keller and her "lifelong companion Annie Sullivan" resttogether at the National Cathedral.
Rolle divides the book state by state. Countless LGBT lives areremembered as we visit the places where each of them lived, worked anddied. Hundreds of historical photographs are included.
But Rolle goes much further. She also lets the current LGBTgenerations know where they can go to find others like themselves whiletravelling--yes Virginia, there really are gay bars and bookstores inAlaska.
Rolle walks through the streets of various neighborhoods in numerouscities, such as New York. Iconic buildings like the Dakota, amongothers, are photographed by the author in all their glory as she liststhe names of famous historical LGBT figures who once occupied thoseelegant homes--many were forced to live closeted lives during theirearthly sojourns.
Rolle doesn't forget the sunshine state either. She opens the Florida section of Queer Places by naming the state's gay villages: Key West,South Beach, and even Wilton Manors, home of SFGN. Readers will be taken to the various Key West Homes of Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) theacclaimed playwright who wrote Southern Gothic tales of madness, whichwere often infused with less than subtle references to homosexuality.Williams' success was all the more impressive when we realize that helived an openly gay life as early as the 1940s.
Rolle then takes us on a street by street tour of the Island city,showing us where other famous Queer writers penned their works. As shecontinues her journey across SoFla, readers will learn that the statewas in fact a haven for LGBT people for nearly a century.
At 600 pages, Queer Places is an exhaustive and brilliant work.Readers might wonder if there's a single street in the country thatRolle didn't visit. Is there an historical archive whose records shefailed to study?
Rolle is without a doubt our most important historian.
South Florida Gay News by David-Elijah Nahmod, 11/11/2016
About the Author
Elisa's website - http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/ - is one of the most comprehensive online journals dedicated solely to LGBT literature, art, and film ever created. A successful, multi-lingual career woman in her own right, Elisa's job takes her all around the world, yet she somehow manages to find time to review books, run competitions, write articles and interview authors for her site. In the last few years, Elisa also launched the Rainbow Awards, an online annual awards event that judges hundreds of LGBT titles in dozens of categories.
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