Book review

A charming, witty and wide-ranging collection of brief biographies of closeted gay men in modern and early modern history, Hidden: The Intimate Lives of Gay Men Past and Present includes colorful snapshots of such well-known men as Horatio Alger, Thomas Eakins, King Edward II, Alfred C. Kinsey, and Siegfried Wagner. Readers will find joy and sorrow and pleasure and pain in these 400 biographies of men who were forced to live hidden lives. All were caught in the tension between the torment of secrecy and the calamity of revelation. How did they manage their difficult lives? How indeed did they survive? One who did was James Brooke. He turned his inheritance into a 142 ton schooner, sailed for the East Indies, seized the northern part of Borneo and proclaimed himself Rajah of Sarawak. Among those who did not survive was Jan Quisthout Van der Linde, a soldier in New Amsterdam (not yet New York). He was stripped of his arms, his sword broken at his feet. He was then tied in a sack, thrown into the Hudson River and drowned until dead. While illuminating individuals, the book also provides rich cultural and historical content, including the trial of those over-the-top transvestites Ernest Boulton 'Stella of the Strand' and Frederick 'Fanny' Park; and a delightful description of the 5th Marquess of Anglesey as he parades along the boulevards of Paris rouged, powdered and perfumed, cradling an equally perfumed poodle festooned with pink ribbons. Written in clear, concise, and lively prose, Hidden offers a substantive and extensive look at men who lived their lives in conflict with their sexuality.

Man, Past and Present by A. Hingston Quiggin

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A. Hingston Quiggin
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