Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation

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9781560231868: Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation
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Take a revealing look at gay sex and gay history and the man who helped kick-start gay activism in today’s society

The Mattachine is the origin of the contemporary American gay movement. One of the major players in this movement was Hal Call, America’s first openly gay journalist and the man most responsible for the end of government censorship of frontal male nude photography through the mail. Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation, the Hal Call Chronicles travels back to the times before Stonewall and its aftermath, to the beginnings of the modern homosexual movement and the lesser-known individuals who started it. This stunning chronicle boldly goes beyond the standard whitewashed/desexualized history usually provided by other gay historians, to give the unexpurgated and sexually charged history of the activists who organized homosexuals, using the biography of the controversial Hal Call as its springboard.

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine provides a revealing illustration of gay life and gay sex in the past through an intergenerational history of the early gay men’s movement. Noted author James T. Sears generously weaves oral history, seldom seen historical documents, and rare photographs to provide a rich behind-the-scenes look at the first wave of Mattachine activists and the emerging gay pornography industry. This historical chronicle of a previously neglected era is packed with details of Call’s personal struggles, his celebration of the phallus, and his assertion linking homophobia and heteronormativity to our culture’s sex-negative tradition. The reader is transported to the sexual underworld of youthful hustlers, porno kingpins, spurned lovers, sex clubs, cruising grounds, secretive societies, and personal in-fighting over the direction of gay activism. This enthralling narrative is impeccably referenced.

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine examines:

  • the origins of the Mattachine Society
  • the Mattachine Foundation of Harry Hay and others of the Fifth Order
  • the Weimar Republic in Germany the roots of the modern homosexual movement
  • networking of homosexuals through correspondence clubs and speakeasies in Depression-era America
  • the intense rivalries between San Francisco and New York City Mattachine groups
  • censorship of books, magazines, and films
  • much more!

    The book explores the lives of three generations of pre-Stonewall gay activists:
  • Magnus Hirschfeld and Benedikt Friedländer
  • Henry Gerber and Manual boyFrank
  • Harry Hay and Hal Call

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine is not only candid about gay sex and its impact on society but also puts a needed spotlight on a time in lesser-known gay history. This is important, illuminating reading for historians and gay persons interested in the undeniably sexually charged history of the early gay men’s movement.
Take a look at these other James T. Sears books on LGBT issues:
Growing Up Gay in the South
online at http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=0502
and
Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Issues in Education
online at http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=5180

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Review:

"AN AMAZING WORK that pushes the boundaries of how we think about LGBT history, life, and political organizing. . . . When you finish Behind the Mask of the Mattachine you will have a great sense of the complexity of Hal Call and the world in which he lived." -- Lambda Book Report (Michael Bronski)

"RICHLY NUANCED. . . . VIVIDLY BRINGS TO LIFE many important figures of twentieth-century gay male history. Hall Call was the first openly gay journalist in the United States, a crusader against government censorship of male sexual imagery, and the leading conservative voice in the homophile movement. A study of his role and influence has been long overdue, but Jim Sears' work is well worth the wait." -- Brett Genny Beemyn, PhD, Director, The Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Richly nuanced. . . Vividly brings to life many important figures of twentieth-century gay male history." -- Brett Genny Beemyn, PhD, Director, The Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Sears brings gay history alive through the voices of those who have lived it. Behind the Mask of the Mattachine traces today's fierce debates within the gay community all the way back to the late 19th Century. It is the broadest, most penetrating, best-documented gay history ever written. . . . THIS BOOK ENTHRALLS YOU. Behind-the-scenes personal accounts give a spicy flair to everything. This is real history, dirty laundry and all. A GREAT READ. DON'T PASS IT BY!" -- Randolfe (Randy) Wicker, BA, University of Texas, Gay militant

"Sears succeeds in rescuing the Mattachine generation from the one-dimensional cartoon characters, what he calls 'cardboard eunuchs,' found in most histories. Presented in his own words and with enormous detail, Call emerges as a complex, deeply human figure. -- The Gay & Lesbian Review

"This MARVELOUS MASTERPIECE skillfully mingles interviews and documents with probing analysis. Stressing the interplay of logos, eros and psyche, Sears traces the American gay movement from Henry Gerber and boy Frank in the twenties to the homophile movement of the 50's and 60's. . . . With meticulous research and ample footnotes, Sears rehabilitates Call, the hard-nosed, self-sacrificing genius who energetically saved the movement in the rigid McCarthy and super-patriotic and ultra-conservative Eisenhower era." -- William A. Percy, PhD, Senior Professor of History, University of Massachusetts at Boston

"This marvelous masterpiece skillfully mingles interviews and documents with probing analysis." -- William A. Percy, PhD, Senior Professor of History, University of Massachusetts at Boston

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9781560231875: Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation (Haworth Gay and Lesbian Studies)

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