Like many, I am anxiously awaiting the publication of Larry Kramer’s The American People: A History which is set to be released in 2012. That book is sure to be equal parts insight and controversy. Until then we can read about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (and their allies) in this handful of critically acclaimed titles:
A Queer History of the United States
by Michael Bronski
This book considers our nation’s history through the lens of sexuality and gender from pre-1492 to present. It demonstrates that even in seemingly repressive times all people have had an integral role in shaping the cultural and political landscape. Many historical figures you’ve probably never heard of, and many facts you probably didn’t know about those you have, are presented.
A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives the Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds
by Martin Duberman
Noted historian Duberman profiles the lives of two early activists whose uncompromising lives are symbolic of the radical 1960s. Blurb alert: McReynolds was the first openly gay man to run for president. Bias alert: I don’t have a great one line blurb about Deming.
The Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
by Justin Spring
Spring chronicles of the life Samuel Stewart, aka Phil Sparrow, as he transforms himself from college professor to Chicago South Side tattoo artist. Friends with the art elite of his day and Alfred Kinsey, Stewart’s truly unique life offers great insight into what it was like to be gay pre-Stonewall.