Gay Warriors: A Documentary History from the Ancient World to the Present

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In Ancient Greece and Rome, in Crusader campaigns and pirate adventures, same-sex romances were a common and condoned part of military culture. From the Peloponnesian War to the Gulf War, from Achelleus to Lawrence of Arabia gays and lesbians have played a crucial but often hidden role in military campaigns. But recent debates over the legality of gay service in the military and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have obscured this rich aspect of military history. Richard Burg has recovered important documents and assembled an anthology on these often invisible gay and lesbian warriors.

Burg shows us that the Amazons of legend weren't just fictional. We learn about the richness and variety of their culture in documents from Plato, Seneca and Suetonius. From courts-martial proceedings we discover women warriors in seventeenth century England who passed as men in order to serve, and army officers whose underground culture fostered long-term romantic friendships.

There are also sections on the American Civil War, World War I and II, the contemporary U.S. military as well as sailors and pirates. This anthology will forever change the way we think about "gays in the military."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Important...a truly fascinating reading on this controversial subject."

-Library Journal

"B.R. Burg in Gay Warriors, through a vivid series of pictures from the ancient to the contemporary world, presents clear evidence that homosexual desire between fighting men in most times and places has contributed to the effectiveness of armies. The modern homosexual/heterosexual distinction has changed this over the last three centuries, but there is every reason to expect that the rise of the gay and lesbian movement may serve to restore an older tradition. The book's original sources stimulate the imagination, and this is especially true of the navy and army courts-martial since 1700. The book is a major contribution to a heated contemporary controversy."

-Randolph Trumbach,Professor of History, Baruch College and the Grad Center, City University of New York

"The reprinted documents are what makes Burg's book valuable, and they allow readers to judge for themselves whether gays and lesbians deserve to be fully integrated into the modern military."

-The Journal of Sex Research

Publishers Weekly
Most readers know about same-sex romance in ancient Greece and Rome. Fewer may be aware of its prevalence among soldiers in those societies, and even fewer will know of such relationships in modern-day militaries. In Gay Warriors: A Documentary History from the Ancient World to the Present, B.R. Burg (Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition), Professor of History at Arizona State University, presents records of gays and lesbians on the battlefield from the Amazons through U.S. soldiers in the Gulf War. John Boswell discusses "the association of homosexuals with democracy and the military" circa 300 B.C.; Anne Gilmour-Bryson explores "Sodomy and the Knights Templar," a medieval religious and military order; and in 1952 the U.S. Army delivered a "Lecture for the `Indoctrination of WAVE Recruits on Subject of Homosexuality.' " (Jan. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Questions about whether or not gays should serve in the military are slightly off. The reality is that they do and always have. If proof is necessary, this insightful compilation of essays on gay and lesbian warriors throughout history is a good place to start. Accomplished historian Burg (Arizona State Univ.), who has proven himself to be a master documentarian in his previous works (e.g., Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition), has gathered important materials in the Western tradition from Homer to Clinton, making for a truly fascinating reading on this controversial subject. Court-martial proceedings and transcripts from Napoleon's army and the Royal Navy, for example, are quite evocative of their age. More frightening are those relating to the prosecution of the Knights Templars. Each of the nine chapters, written by prominent academics (e.g., John Boswell, Anne Gilmour-Bryson) and by Berg himself, covers a specific historical period (e.g., American Civil War, World Wars I and II) and includes enough contextual information to make it pertinent to academics and accessible to the lay reader. David Azzolina,. Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814798867
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 299
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

B. R. Burg is Professor of History at Arizona State University and the author of Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition.

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Table of Contents

Editorial Note
Introduction 1
1 The Classical World 5
2 Amazons 27
3 The Medieval Templars 65
4 Eighteenth-Century Warriors 103
5 Britain and the Wars against Napoleon 121
6 Nineteenth-Century Americans at War 161
7 The U.S. Navy after World War I 191
8 World War II 223
9 The Cold War to the Age of Clinton 251
Sources 287
Permissions 291
Index 293
About the Editor 299
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