The Deviant's War

The Deviant's War

Eric Cervini

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512 pages |  Hardcover 

From a young Harvard- and Cambridge-trained historian, the untold story of a revolution for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall

In 1957, Frank Kameny, an astronomer working for the US Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny—like countless gay men and women for before him—was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, he fought back.

Eric Cervini tells the story of what followed in this pathbreaking history of an early champion of gay liberation. Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, The Deviant's War is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads, of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress, of FBI informants, murder, betrayal, sex, love—and ultimately victory.

"Eric Cervini’s work is an important contribution to making our nation’s history whole and truthful. Grounded in extensive research, it tells the history of Frank Kameny’s tenacious and courageous battle with the federal government to secure respect, dignity and equality for gays and lesbians. Kameny was a pioneer who helped carve a path to a new and better world for LGBTQ Americans and for our entire nation. The Deviant’s War is a compelling work which should be on the reading list for everyone who cares about the quest for full civil rights for all Americans." —US Senator Tammy Baldwin

"When Frank Kameny was dismissed from his job in 1957, the army lost an astronomer and the cause of freedom gained a general. For the next fifty years, having found his real life’s work, Kameny stood on every front line of the gay rights movement. Because of him, more than anyone else, hundreds of thousands of federal employees—including soldiers—now go off each morning, without fear, to earn their livings and serve their country. The Deviant’s War thrillingly gives Kameny his due, putting this brave, sometimes impossible, iron-willed man at the center of an epic struggle for liberty." —Thomas Mallon, author of Fellow Travelers

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