Wolfenden's Witnesses: Homosexuality in Postwar Britain

Wolfenden's Witnesses: Homosexuality in Postwar Britain

by Brian Lewis

Paperback(1st ed. 2016)

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Wolfenden's Witnesses: Homosexuality in Postwar Britain by Brian Lewis

The Wolfenden Report of 1957 has long been recognized as a landmark in moves towards gay law reform. What is less well known is that the testimonials and written statements of the witnesses before the Wolfenden Committee provide by far the most complete and extensive array of perspectives we have on how homosexuality was understood in mid-twentieth century Britain. Those giving evidence, individually or through their professional associations, included a broad cross-section of official, professional and bureaucratic Britain: police chiefs, policemen, magistrates, judges, lawyers and Home Office civil servants; doctors, biologists (including Alfred Kinsey), psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists; prison governors, medical officers and probation officers; representatives of the churches, morality councils and progressive and ethical societies; approved school headteachers and youth organization leaders; representatives of the army, navy and air force; and a small handful of self-described but largely anonymous homosexuals. This volume presents an annotated selection of their voices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781137321480
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 03/03/2016
Series: Genders and Sexualities in History
Edition description: 1st ed. 2016
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Brian Lewis is Professor of History at McGill University, Canada.

Table of Contents

Note on Style
1. Law Enforcers
2. Medical Practitioners and Scientists
3. Homosexuals
4. Christians, Moralists and Reformers

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Brian Lewis deserves considerable praise for making available much of the testimony presented to the Wolfenden Committee on male homosexuality in 1950s Britain. A treasure-trove of hitherto unpublished material – judiciously chosen, carefully edited, and richly contextualized – Wolfenden's Witnesses contributes enormously to our understanding of the complexities of the queer 'fifties." - Chris Waters, Hans W. Gatzke '38 Professor of Modern European History, Williams College, USA

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