By Christopher Bram
Twelve, $27.99, 372 pages
When people think of authors like Truman Capote and Allen Ginsberg they think of literary classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Howl, not their sexuality. The reality, however, is many of the most prolific writers of the past 50 years have been homosexuals. Eminent Outlaws chronicles the history of America’s gay writers through their relationships with one another and notable works.
This book isn’t just a laundry list of who wrote what, and which authors were hanging out together. Instead the text reads more like a novel developing the characters and showing their often-flawed relationships with one another; using those relationships to create some of the most memorable pieces of writing America has known.
The downside of having such a diverse cast is keeping so many names and titles ordered. This becomes especially true of the sections on the 1980s and 1990s when there are artists some readers will be unfamiliar with. Having each section ordered by decade does help compartmentalize things in the reader’s mind. Eminent Outlaws is an interesting read for anyone who has desired to know more about their favorite writers, and get a snapshot into the culture they were creating in.
Reviewed by Andrew Keyser