House and Home: The Political and Personal Journey of a Gay Republican Congressman & the Man with Whom He Created a Family

House and Home: The Political and Personal Journey of a Gay Republican Congressman & the Man with Whom He Created a Family

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by Steve Gunderson, Bruce Bawer, Rob Morris
     
 

House and Home is an extraordinary story: the personal account of the only openly gay Republican congressman in history, along with the man who shares his life and has helped form his political vision. This important and provocative book, written by him and his lover, Rob Morris, tells the story of Steve Gunderson's growing up gay in Wisconsin, his refusal to accept… See more details below

Overview

House and Home is an extraordinary story: the personal account of the only openly gay Republican congressman in history, along with the man who shares his life and has helped form his political vision. This important and provocative book, written by him and his lover, Rob Morris, tells the story of Steve Gunderson's growing up gay in Wisconsin, his refusal to accept his sexuality for years, and his reluctance to publicly acknowledge it until well into a successful career in politics. It chronicles both the pain and the liberation of coming out, and what it meant in terms of effectiveness in Congress and in the challenge of winning reelection in the face of strident attacks from the religious right. It recounts the reactions of his Republican congressional colleagues, ranging from savagely vituperative to warmly and sometimes surprisingly supportive. And it describes what it was like when Steve and Rob were invited to dine at the Clinton White House.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An openly gay Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, Gunderson has fought what he sees as his party's increasingly strident assault on homosexuality. As the leader of what he calls a militant moderate Republican faction, he has voiced his support of gay rights and AIDS funding to his political mentor, conservative power broker Newt Gingrich, whom Gunderson credits here with expressing an implicit trust and acceptance that enabled him to fully come out of the closet. Morris, an architect who is Gunderson's longtime companion, views Gingrich as an enemy of the gay and lesbian cause, and this interesting memoir, told in the couple's alternating voices, reveals their interpersonal dynamics as well as their political differences. Gunderson, a devout Lutheran, reminisces about his Norwegian American boyhood in Wisconsin and dramatically describes how he was outed on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1994 on live national television. He refutes the religious right's doctrine that being homosexual contradicts family values. The writing had an assist from noted gay cultural critic Bawer. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Congressman Gunderson (R-Wis.) was first elected in 1980 and is retiring this year; his partner, Morris, is an architect. Part personal memoir, part political reminiscence, their book is about their relationship and how the personal and political often collide. Gunderson relates his own struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality and how to integrate that identity into his role in the U.S. Congress. Self-described as a "militant moderate" as well as a friend and ideological ally of Newt Gingrich, he describes his conflict of wanting personally to be more out in the battles for gay-related issues vs. wanting to remain closeted for political expediency. As this memoir is often overly detailed, meandering, and short on political/cultural analysis, it is unclear to whom it would appeal. An optional purchase for public libraries.Jo McClamroch, Xavier Univ. Lib., Cincinnati
Ray Olson
When Gunderson, the only openly gay Republican congressman, launched his 1994 reelection campaign, he told his western Wisconsin district it would be his last. His decision affords him the luxury of producing not a campaign tract but a real memoir, especially concerned with his life with architect (and coauthor) Rob Morris. He met Morris in Washington in 1983, and Morris brought the socially reticent Gunderson many gay friends; through his interactions with them, Gunderson achieved greater self-acceptance and, eventually, involvement with gay issues, particularly those swirling around AIDS. Gunderson could not, however, both crusade for gay causes and serve his dairy-farming constituency as faithfully as he felt he must. For his commitment to being a "governing Republican" (his term) rather than a party ideologue, he endured defamation from radical gays and, eventually, from the religious right. Gunderson's modesty and dedication to public service illuminate his account but threaten to make it bland. Fortunately, Morris is a spicier guy, and critic and poet Bruce Bawer's help with the writing keeps the book lively and absorbing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525941972
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/1996
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
9.26(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.14(d)

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