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This beautifully illustrated volume is also a first-rate anthology. Chapters by 14 recognized scholars are mostly formatted in a Western civilization sequence (ancient, medieval, renaissance, etc.). Bracketing them is a fine overview by editor Aldrich (European history, Univ. of Sydney) and Gert Hekma's conclusions on globalized gay culture. Whereas the culture's destination is international, its march is through national narratives. Authors choose how to characterize same-sex cultures, and all treat gender implications. Two excellent chapters, the second by Leila Rupp, examine Western lesbians exclusively. Outside the sequence, a chapter on gay and lesbian intimacy in Asia follows another on homosexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Another neatly demonstrates queer theory's attention to heteronormativity in the stories of Europeans, upon finding among indigenous peoples in the Americas and Oceania striking departures from two-gender social models and homosexualities, forcibly compelling heteronormativity. All readers will learn much from and delight in this volume. There is an arc of inevitability in this story, of gay people assimilating and integrating into developed countries as the demographic cohort of adversaries slowly vanish in the hearse's wake. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. P. K. Cline Earlham College
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As the title suggests, this book has a large agenda. Aldrich (European history, Univ. of Sydney; The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy) is one of the best-known gay historians writing today, and he is well equipped for the task, bringing together 14 scholars from all over the world to address topics from ancient times to the present. The essays are aimed at a general audience, but scholarly notes and bibliographies are appended. While some of the history is well known, many readers will be surprised by the varieties of same-sex love in Asian and Islamic cultures. Still, Western cultures are better covered than others; for example, there is no essay on sub-Saharan Africa. The illustrations are the glory of the volume. It would be easy to have simply selected clich?d images, but here they are uniformly fresh and interesting. The main strength of this volume, however, is its drawing together into one volume disparate histories that had hitherto been accessible only in specialist works. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.