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Randy Shilts: Conduct Unbecoming

Randy Shilts: Conduct Unbecoming

USA 2005, 813 pp., brochure, € 19.39
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Randy Shilts, author of the classic documentary history of the AIDS epidemic, investigated the situation of lesbians und gays in the military by interviewing hundreds of servicepeople at all levels of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Shilts' collage of historical research, interviews, and U.S. military documents (both public and confidential) portrays in detail the vital role that gay men and lesbians have always played in the armed forces, and painstakingly - and painfully - exposes how homophobic and often irrational government policies have demonized them through lies, witch-hunts, and antigay purges. He recounts many horrific stories of surveillance, harassment, intimidation, imprisonment, and suicide. But there are also accounts of personal courage and triumph which counterbalance the harsher material. Particularly fascinating is Shilts' account of the persistent gay/lesbian subculture in the military, particularly aboard naval vessels.
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