From WWII To DADT

One of the biggest LGBT literary trends of the past 15 months is also an important talking point in contemporary mainstream politics: gays and the military. From acclaimed WWII biographies to critical investigations of DADT to books on gender and war to romantic tales of service men and women, here is a sample of the military-inspired books that crossed our desk this year.

MEMOIRS & NONFICTION

MY QUEER WAR
By James Lord
Farrar Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, 9780374217488, 352p
April 2010

Acclaimed memoirist and critic, James Lord, recalls his experiences as a young man during WWII. Paperback edition comes drops May, 2011. Review forthcoming

'Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America' by Nathaniel Frank

UNFRIENDLY FIRE:
How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America
By Nathaniel Frank
St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback, 9780312603533, 368p
March 2010

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

A devastating multi-frontal assault on the gay ban’s history and ideological underpinnings, amply illustrating the shaky ground upon which justifications for the gay ban were founded, promoted, and continually supported. Reviewed by Nathan Tipton

One of the Boys

ONE OF THE BOYS:
Homosexuality in the Military during World War II
By Paul Jackson
McGill-Queen’s University Press
Paperback, 9780773537149, 376p
April 2010

Combines policy analysis and social history into one thought-provoking book. According to Paul Jackson, parallels can be made between the Canadian military and its attitudes toward homosexuality during WWII and its 21st century attitudes toward “the war on terror.” Reviewed by Rachel Wexelbaum

Citizen Invert Queer

CITIZEN, INVERT, QUEER:
Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth-Century Britain
By Deborah Cohler
University of Minnesota Press
Paperback, 9780816649761, 296p
April 2010

Deborah Cohler examines the shifting intersections of nationalism and sexuality before, during, and after the Great War, and how they shape our ideas about female homosexuality. Review forthcoming

ONCE A MARINE:
by A Memoir of Coming Out Under Fire
by Eric Alva; Sam Gallegos
Alyson Books
Hardcover, 9781593501662, 300p
TBA

One of the year’s most anticipated military memoirs—U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Eric Alva’s gripping autobiography—never actually saw a release. Hopefully this no-doubt moving memoir will be published in 2011.

Playing By the Rules

PLAYING BY THE RULES
by Justin Elzie
Queer Mojo (A Rebel Satori Imprint)
Paperback, 9781608640423, 260p
Nov  2010

“Elzie recounts his personal story as the first Marine to be discharged (and later reinstated) under the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and his years as an openly gay Marine and civil rights activist. Iconic gay activist David Mixner contributed a foreword.”  Featured by John Morgan Wilson

Coming out under fire

COMING OUT UNDER FIRE:
The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II
By Allan Berube
Forward by John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman
University of North Carolina Press
Paperback, 9780807871775, 377p
Sept 2010

20th Anniversary Edition
Drawing on GIs’ wartime letters, extensive interviews with gay veterans, and declassified military documents, Berube constructs a startling history of the two wars gay military men and women fought—one for America and the other for their own survival as homosexuals within the military. Originally published in 1990.

FICTIONALIZED ACCOUNTS

BLIND FALL
By Christopher Rice
Pocket
Mass Market Paperback, 9780743294003, 320p
Jan 2010

In Christopher Rice’s bestselling novel (released in Mass Market Paperback this year) features an Iraq War vet who seeks redemption and revenge when the fellow Marine he failed to protect during the war is brutally murdered.

Bitter Eden

BITTER EDEN
By Tatamkhulu Afrika
Arcadia Books
Paperback, 9781905147946, 340p
May 2010

The author’s own World War II experience as a captive in North Africa and a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany shape this novel of “repressed passion in POW Camps” (Times).

ON GENDER & WAR

THE MALE BODY AT WAR:
American Masculinity During World War II
By Christina S. Jarvis
Northern Illinois University Press
Paperback, 9780875806389, 243p
April 2010

“A very important work, one of the first books to examine how the efforts of state and military officials during the Second World War reconfigured constructions of American masculinity.”—Leisa D. Meyer, College of William and Mary

THE LONELY SOLDIER:
The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq
By Helen Benedict
Beacon Press
Paperback, 9780807061497, 280p
April 2010

In the paperback edition, Benedict weaves the stories of forty Iraq War veterans and recalls the complex issues of war and misogyny, class, race, homophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

NIMO’S WAR, EMMA’S WAR:
Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War
By Cynthia Enloe
University of California Press
Paperback, 9780520260788, 320p
June 2010

Cynthia Enloe looks closely at the lives of eight ordinary women, four Iraqis and four Americans, during the Iraq War examining the gendered dimensions of combat.

ROMANCE & EROTICA

NO RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
By Tracey Richardson
Bella Books
Paperback, 9781594931598, 317p
Oct 2009

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Richardson tackles the tragedy of war, the trials of coming home, the challenges of family and rewards of relationships in her latest novel. Reviewed by Andrea Peterson

The Lonely War

THE LONELY WAR
By Alan Chin
Zumaya Boundless
Paperback, 9781934841440, 328p
Oct 2009

Not long after Pearl Harbor, a young sailor will risk everything to save his beloved commanding officer.

‘Whatever Gods May Be’ by Sophia Kell Hagin

WHATEVER GODS MAY BE
By Sophia Kell Hagin
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602821835, 284p
Oct 2010

Seventeen-year-old Jamie Gwynmorgan enlists in the Marine Corps because she has nowhere else to go, but she never expects to find love. Reviewed by Pamela Bigelow

INTO THE MIST
by Sharon G. Clark
Regal Crest/Quest
Paperback, 9781935053347, 212p
July 2010

Psychiatric nurse, Lieutenant Kasey Houston, has snuck off the USS Console, to join the Marines in their fight against the Japanese soldiers, in May of 1945. She awakens in the future.

HONORABLE SILENCE:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
by Maura Anderson, William Maltese, George Seaton, Lex Valentine
MLR Press
e-book, 9781608202539, 69K words
Nov 2010

Four MM romance authors weave tales of closeted servicemen from fighter pilots to snipers to infantrymen. Featured by Dick Smart

CARICATURE
by Jardonn Smith
MLR Press
e-book

“A former POW from WWII comes to terms with the evils done to him by his captors through the help of a fellow veteran during a forty-year reunion, igniting passions that will sustain the two soldiers throughout their golden years.” Featured by Dick Smart

Always Faithful

ALWAYS FAITHFUL
by Isabella
Sapphire Books
e-book, 9780982860809, 238p
Aug 2010

Two women are brought together when one’s husband dies while in military service.  $1.00 for each sale of the book is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Special Forces

SPECIAL FORCES:
Gay Military Erotica
Edited by Phillip MacKenzie, Jr.
Cleis Press
Paperback, 9781573443722, 189p
Oct 2009

Erotic stories from Jack Fritscher (“Wild Blue Yonder”), T. Hitman (“To the Victors Go the Spoiled”), Simon Sheppard (“Stockholm Syndrome”), Jay Starre (“Between Shots Fire”), among others.

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS

DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL:
Volume 1 & Volume 2
by Jeff Sheng
Jeff Sheng Studios
Softcover, 9780984447435/9780984447411

PROUD TO SERVE
by Jo Ann Santangelo
Self Published

On August 25, 2010, Santangelo began a twenty-eight day road trip around the US, driving 10,167 miles, 31 states from New York to California and back to photograph and record the stories of LGBT Servicemembers.



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  • Ron Fritsch

2 Responses to “2010 in Review: Gays & the Military”

  1. […] 2010 in Review: Gays & the Military […]


  2. Tracy Baim 5 January 2011 at 8:53 AM #

    If I might add two selections to this list of my own books: The first is non-fiction, Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage, which came out in September and is available on Amazon, Kindle and iPad. In it, there is a detailed look at Obama’s record on gay rights, including the complicated legacy of DADT. Second is a fiction book, out in January 2011, now available on Amazon and Kindle, The Half Life of Sgt. Jen Hunter, about lesbians in the Gulf War just prior to DADT being passed (the early 1990s). The story was a stage play in 2004, and is now available in novel form. By Tracy Baim.



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