In 1918 the "Vigilante" newspaper claimed that the German Secret Service held a book containing the names of 47,000 British establishment members who were sexual perverts. It was claimed Britain was losing the war because the Germans were blackmailing these figures and thereby sapping the country's strength. The "Vigilante" was exploiting popular belief that Britain had become a decadent state still in thrall to the perverted cult of Oscar Wilde. The extreme right wing politics of the newspaper's publisher were becoming dangerously popular and in the sensational libel trial that followed many high society members were drawn in. Wilde's devoted "friend" Robbie Ross and his one time lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, both became embroiled in the bitter battle over Wilde's reputation. The author uses original documents and archives to narrate the history of this bizarre scandal, made all the more unusual by having occurred during the final year of World War I. He produces a portrait of wartime society, telling of transvestites in the trenches, of drug clubs in London, and of the roots of British fascism, discerning the seeds of intolerance which would inform the troubled years to come.
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Philip Hoare is a journalist and writer. His is the author of Leviathan (winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize) and The Sayings of Noel CowardReview:
Hoare has identified one of the key moments in the formation of the modern world, and he has documented it with dazzling brilliance -- Simon Callow * The Sunday Times * A shocking tale of heroes and villains. Illuminating and upsetting in equal measure. -- Sir Ian McKellen A thrashing good read * Indepenent on Sunday * Hoare's lively book [is] a valuable addition to the alternative history of our century -- Peter Parker * Observer *
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Book Description Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0715627376 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1987531
Book Description Duckworth, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0715627376
Book Description Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0715627376