Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History is a uniquely authoritative and comprehensive work on key men and women in the history of homosexuality. Expert authors from over a dozen countries have contributed over 500 figures, from the era of Sappho and Socrates to the age of Radclyffe Hall and Andre Gide.
Aldrich and Wotherspoon (history, Univ. of Sydney) are brave editors, as a "who's who" for gay studies might be seen as concretizing in an area in which the constructionist/essentialist debate is still a minefield. Nevertheless, they provide an articulate rationale for this book in their introduction. In addition to justifying the "who's who" approach in general at a time when social history moves the focus to "unknown" people, they seek to include anyone of significance in the history of sexual minorities without any limits based on what the subjects did in bed. Well over 100 contributors have written the 500 entries, which range from Sappho to Andr Gide; most entries are accompanied by a bibliography. This is a scholarly alternative to more celebratory or localized works such as Paul Elliott Russell's The Gay 100 (Citadel, 1996). Along with the companion volume, Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, also edited by Aldrich and Wotherspoon, it belongs in every library concerned with world history. David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.