We don't usually associate thriving queer culture with rural America, but John Howard's unparalleled history of queer life in the South persuasively debunks the myth that same-sex desires can't find expression outside the big city. In fact, this book shows that the nominally conservative institutions of small-town life—home, church, school, and workplace—were the very siteWe don't usually associate thriving queer culture with rural America, but John Howard's unparalleled history of queer life in the South persuasively debunks the myth that same-sex desires can't find expression outside the big city. In fact, this book shows that the nominally conservative institutions of small-town life—home, church, school, and workplace—were the very sites where queer sexuality flourished. As Howard recounts the life stories of the ordinary and the famous, often in their own words, he also locates the material traces of queer sexuality in the landscape: from the farmhouse to the church social, from sports facilities to roadside rest areas.Spanning four decades, Men Like That complicates traditional notions of a post-WWII conformist wave in America. Howard argues that the 1950s, for example, were a period of vibrant queer networking in Mississippi, while during the so-called "free love" 1960s homosexuals faced aggressive oppression. When queer sex was linked to racial agitation and when key civil rights leaders were implicated in homosexual acts, authorities cracked down and literally ran the accused out of town.In addition to firsthand accounts, Men Like That finds representations of homosexuality in regional pulp fiction and artwork, as well as in the number one pop song about a suicidal youth who jumps off the Tallahatchie Bridge. And Howard offers frank, unprecedented assessments of outrageous public scandals: a conservative U.S. congressman caught in the act in Washington, and a white candidate for governor accused of patronizing black transgender sex workers.The first book-length history of the queer South, Men Like That completely reorients our presuppositions about gay identity and about the dynamics of country life....
|Title||:||Men Like That: A Southern Queer History|
|Number of Pages||:||395 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Men Like That: A Southern Queer History Reviews
3.5 stars. A very interesting perspective of mid-20th century homosexuality in Mississippi that mixes academic history with oral history/interviews. Sometimes on the subjective side and focuses almost solely on homosexual males (or at least males who engage in "homosex" but do not identify as homosexual). Well-arranged (if you read the intro, he explains how the book is laid out), mostly easy to read, but can be repetitive.
The book is separated into two parts. The first uses oral histories to narrate a loose history, an impression of the time period as a whole for queer men. He frankly discusses the limits of this type of history, the types of narratives received when a historian asks for queer interviewees — you miss out on the huge pool of men who “liked that,” but weren’t “like that.” Still, even though it’s limited, it’s useful. The second part of the book, larger in size, deals with more traditional historical methods. It’s more chronological, and covers such history-ish things as laws, activist organizing, public backlash, the civil rights movement, and fictional representations (not in that order).I was pleased by Howard’s treatment of race and religion throughout the book. He rightly notes that the book would be devastatingly incomplete without discussing race and the intersection of race with sexuality, and he follows through on discussing that in pretty much every section, although he was limited in some areas by lack of available sources. Fun and significant fact — according to Howard (although not in his words), things were relatively chill for queer men in Mississippi in the 50s, but racism was huge. After the civil rights movement got started there was backlash, and queer folks got caught up in it, in large part because the anti-civil rights people tried to accuse civil rights leaders of crazy pervy stuff in general to discredit them. Also just because the dominant classes were doubling down on their definitions of propriety in general, but ALSO because queers and queer activism were legitimately linked to the Civil Rights Movement proper. The 60s and 70s were the hardest time for queer folks, not the 50s.Men Like That isn’t a perfect book. The main issue is too much editorializing, without clearly linking his interpretation to his evidence. Interpretation, in a historian’s parlance simply meaning “chitchat and conclusions based on evidence,” is the whole point of history writing. I just prefer to have very explicit linkages between the discussion and the evidence being discussed, because it minimizes confusion. However, this is a very common thing in history books, and it didn’t hamper my enjoyment. The work is copiously endnoted, and being a nerd working on a project, I spent a lot of quality time with those endnotes. So, I can confidently say if you want more information about any of his topics, you can easily figure out his sources and continue on your own. Another minor criticism is that he quotes Novid Parsi in glowing terms on several occasions, without mentioning that they were partners at the time. He mentions it in the acknowledgements, but not when actually using Parsi’s work.Full review: https://hannahgivens.wordpress.com/20...
This was a good book. Howard's structure changes throughout which takes a little getting used to. It can be dry in places, but I found it an interesting depiction of gay live in southern rural cities. I think the most interesting take away was his discussion of how gay men and women weren't persecuted harshly in these communities until the started to align themselves with the civil rights movement. This book looks at Mississippi from 1945-1985. It ends right when HIV/AIDS enters the picture.