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The title of this book may be a bit misleading. Unlike Edmund White's States of Desire: Travels in Gay America, of 20 years ago, which introduced us to a broad cross section of gay Americans, the 44 profiles here are of artists, writers, activists, politicians, and intellectuals. Gambone's interviewees are diverse in many ways (age, gender, race, background), but they are all people of noted accomplishment, the best-known probably being Dorothy Allison, Tammy Baldwin, Kate Clinton, Barney Frank, and George Takei, but at least half the names should be familiar to most LGBT readers. Gambone is a smart interviewer with a laid-back, engaging style, and he knows how to bring out the most interesting qualities of his subjects. He clearly admires them all and makes us admire them, too. It was an odd choice to arrange the chapters alphabetically, rather than thematically, but it does make for an eclectic front-to-back reading experience. VERDICT Although published by a university press, this book is squarely aimed at the general, informed LGBT reader.-David Gibbs, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* For this collection of 40 interviews, Gambone traveled the nation for two years, talking with LGBTQ people to repudiate a portrait of our community that . . . is often a sadly impoverished one and to open up a wider panorama than the tiny, cramped window that currently looks out onto LGBTQ America. Comic Kate Clinton, interested in occupying the radical middle of the sociopolitical spectrum when interviewed in 1993, has reflected and encouraged change in this country with her increasingly political material; she regards what she does as a sacred opportunity. National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty explores and expands his main themes of exile and loss in poems that confront the . . . way things unravel, dissolve and recently includes gay content that doesn't necessarily take center stage; he dislikes the notion that there's a right way to write gay: We did not go through a great struggle for liberation . . . for someone to tell us how to be gay. Further interviews with politicians Barney Frank and Hillary Goodridge (a major force in legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts), with Stephin Merritt, the Sondheim of indie rock, and with more than 30 others blow fresh air through that big picture window of Gambone's.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2010 Booklist