Like People in History
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Like People in History

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  829 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Cousins Roger and Alistair become lifelong friends when they meet as boys in 1954. They discover their homosexuality and their lives intersect against the backdrop of 20th-century gay culture, from the beachboy surfer days of the 1960s, to Greenwich Village AIDS activism in the 1990s.
Published June 6th 1996 by Little Brown and Company (first published July 3rd 1995)
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Though published over 10 years ago, Like People In History is one of my favorite books by Felice Picano; I've read the book three times now during that time. The friendship, deep bond and admiration Roger and Alistair have for each other friendship is palbable. I'm sure many boys will be reminded of similar friends they grew up with, some harboring secret crushes. At times funny, sexy, tragic and sad, Like People In History is a must-read for any gay man and those looking for a story that define...more
Jean Marie Angelo
I was pulled in at the opening and I cried at the ending. My issue is with everything in between. The author has some wondeful passages, but then hits on spots that could have used better editing. He builds a great duality with two cousins — each gay —who live though four decades of coming out, competing with each other, and ultimately caring for each other. Problem is, the writing is uneven and, at times, sexist and racist. There are comments and actions that sometimes don't fit with the charac...more
This is one of the best gay novels ever written!
Daniel G.
The cover blurb describes how each of the two main characters – Roger Sansarc, and his second cousin, Alistair Dodge – discover their own "unique - and uniquely gay - identity". Through the process of following the relationship of these characters across four decades, it has helped me dust off the glitter on the faded red sequined hot pants of my own gay identity.

The two first meet as nine-year-old boys and Alistair seems to have everything that the "ordinary" Rog could want. Alistair is a manip...more
An epic story of gay life spanning the late twentieth century from a childhood in the 50's to the days of AIDS activism in the early 1990's. An early chapter left me wanting to be an adolescent in Southern California in the early 60's, though that would make one the right age for Vietnam and the full onslaught of AIDS. Along the way the novel touches on San Francisco opera queens, the glory days of disco on Fire Island, New York bathhouses, and hospital rooms with dying loved ones.
While some pa...more
I found Like People in History a wildly uneven book, veering as it did from a mildly trashy “beach read” to a more serious attempt at gay literary fiction, with neither part being convincing or very good. The story begins in the 50’s, threading throughout its narrative the Vietnam War, Stonewall, the wild post-liberation 70’s scene of Fire Island et al, the devastation of AIDS in the 80’s, and ending in the early 90’s while the crisis was still raging. Picano centers the story on two cousins, th...more
Michael Reed
This book is about the late '70s early '80s when HIV/AIDS began to destroy much of a whole generation of us.
It was described as the Gay Gone With The Wind. That, however, is a big challenge which I think it fell far short of. But, it doesn't have to be GWTW to be good.
I enjoyed the first 2/3rds or so until everyone was doing everyone else on Fire Island including the protagonist...relationships notwithstanding. Having never desired anything but monogamy during my few romantic involvements and pe...more
Rating this book is difficult, but I'll give it three starts pretty much just because this book is very uneven. Some part were very good (basically everything before 1969, 1985 and present day/1991) while I found the other parts a little boring at times. I loved the width of this book, and how it managed to include lots of America's gay history. I teared up at the end of the book and even though I hated Alistair for most of the book, I almost cheered out loud when he did the right thing (for onc...more
Derek Gover
Another gay history published as fiction but covering a significant period of US Gay history. This book follows the lives of two cousins and the people they meet during their lives. It covers the period from their childhood in the early 50s through the stonewall era and the onset of AIDS and deals with the love/hate relationship of the two vastly different main characters..Again a book worth reading because it is good fiction but also because of its insight into the era
While this book would've really benefited from a good editor, it was still a pretty enjoyable read. A big, sprawling, campy retelling of American history from the early 1960s through the 1980s from the perspective of a young gay writer. I'd recommend it less for its craft and more as an archive of (mostly white, mostly male) gay social life. The frame narrative is confusing and unnecessary, but the lengthy flashback sections give a great sense of the vibrancy of gay society in New York, especial...more
Hope Leeper
An interesting read, but probably not one I would read over and over again. One reviewer said a gay "Gone With the Wind." Nowhere close to that kind of story telling, in my opinion. It maybe helped me understand a little more of gay culture, especially gay men's culture.
I read this book a good five or so years ago. I bought it, then didn't read it for a while, read the first half... didn't read it for a while... then picked it up again and read it in five days flat. I have to say it was one of my favorite books at the time, and I still hold it in high regard.
Adam O'leary
Predictable high camp with clumsy prose and an irritating fascination with name-dropping luxury goods and brands, but incorporating a broad sweep of 20th century gay history and some touching scenes of how HIV/AIDS affected the gay community.
I liked this book, but found it a little preachy and melodramatic. That the protagonist just happened to be present at almost every seminal Event in gay history?
Chris Hooper
If you were too young to live it, read it. An amazing book
Chuck Rankin
This is one of the best books I have ever read....but it is time for me to re-read it...and I have not found in my stacks.

Easy flowing....time honored reflecting the best of the gay emergence times....
Disappointing. Read years back and, tough enjoyable at times, I found it totally over-rated
Shane Moxey
One of my favourites.
A totally enjoyable albeit somewhat long book. I'm just half through it. The only part of the book that I have found uninteresting was in Book Four Chain of Fools when 2 of the characters who are both opera queens have lengthy conversations about works of opera. I'm sure if I were an opera aficionado I would have delighted in this as well. I simply skimmed through most of their conversations since it was so out of my league.
I bought this book when it was first available in England in 1976. To be honest the only way to describe it is "It isd fantastic" I reread it every few years so far I have read it 6 times. It is so easy to read and you start to love the characters. I wish I had had such a positive book to read when I was struggling with my sexuality as a traumatised teenager in the 1970's.

I thoroughly recommend you read this book.
Sprawling, inconsistent and the pacing was all over the place - by no means the fine piece of literature it purports to be. Absolutely loved it, however, for all its flaws. Not for everyone, but if you love Zelig-esque 'I was there' jaunts through American history there is a lot to like.
May 16, 2007 Rory rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Epic story lovers
This is the ONLY book if one wants to learn about the arc of the mordern gay exepierence. It is the fictional account of two cousins both gay and from the 50s--90s in every different way and place. The gay 'Gone With the Wind'.
I read this book twice, a couple of years apart and then read it again recently, probably ten years after the first time. (So 3 times total). I loved it each time for the message that it sends, that love is timeless. It is also a great reflection of the times and details epic benchmark periods of Gay history.
One of the most moving novels I have read. A great epic coming of age gay novel. Two cousins, living through the major milestones in history, the 60s, 70s, and AIDS devastating 80s. A definite must read!
Sep 14, 2007 Larry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
a book that I would recommend to many to read. he is a hispanic author who has lived in NYC for many years and is a great observer of life and those around him.
George Ilsley
This book gave me an excuse to meet the author. A sweeping view of the personal which intersects with famous historical events in the US. Immensely readable.
A very enjoyable read detailing may gay American iconic settings from the California surfing scene in the 60s to the time of ACT-UP in the 90's.
Homero Arceyut
Interesting trip through the ages in the gay community world, in a period that goes from the late 50s to the 90s.
I picked up this book because a dear friend's poetry is in it. I'm finding the book to be very interesting.
A seminal piece of the gay lit cannon, this reminded me a lot of Maupin's Tales of the City.
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