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A Queer History of the United States for Young People

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Queer history didn’t start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years.

It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it’s rarely taught in schools or commemorated in
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Beacon Press (first published June 4th 2019)
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kippen (uponthepages) I'm assuming it's because this book claims that asexuality is a temporary phase and doesn't really exist! you can't write a LGBT+ history book and be…moreI'm assuming it's because this book claims that asexuality is a temporary phase and doesn't really exist! you can't write a LGBT+ history book and be acephobic (less)

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Apr 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: arc-galley, 2019
Updated to add that these issues are still in the finished copy.

Keeping in mind that I read this as a physical arc and not as a finished edition, I had many issues with this title. It's fairly good for what it is, but there are some really big red flags on this text. I don't know if it's from the original author, the adapter, or for some other reason, but:

p. 3: transgender is in a list of words for "women and men who are attracted to members of their own sex"

p. 10: "now that we have explored all
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-for-me
Haven’t read it, but saw a screenshot of the page saying asexuality is a temporary phase. So, it’s an untrustworthy book. Which is too bad because a great book on this topic is needed. ...more
I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss

actual rating: 3.5

I do have some issues with some of the language used in this book, but overall it is filled with a lot of good information. I did like how it talks about how the language we use to describe different orientations is always changing and tried to put things into their historical contexts, but still there were some things the author said in the modern day sections where I did not necessarily agree with the wording of it in some
Tristan Frodelius
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
The exclusion of asexuality as a full, substantive identity and historically present part of the queer community belies a lack of research and/or general knowledge of queer history. It is placed in scare quotes and the author claims that asexuality is "recent" (it is not). The author paints a picture that asexuality is a phase and not a true identity, saying that it is "similar to" other identities, ostensibly because the author does not believe it is one. Asexuality has existed through human ...more
Cassidy Raab
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn’t read this book but apparently it has acephobia in it so the author can EAT SHIT
Jun 17, 2019 marked it as nope
Yikes, this book is a big nope.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Asexuality is not a "temporary feeling", you ignorant charlatan.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't know if I'd put this on any "best of" lists, but it's an integral addition to any collection. It's not particularly well written because it's really just a series of short story biographical sketches of people who do not fit neatly into boxes or that contemporary society questions as possibly questioning using historical context from primary source documents like their letter writing. The organization is merely chronological.

It also doesn't feel comprehensive and I wonder what the
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting!
Kurt Ostrow
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Such an accessible history! I love the James Baldwin quote that framed it: "The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations" (270). Bronski introduced me to lots of new characters, like gender revolutionary Public Universal Friend and new ...more
Lauren Kell
Sep 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book literally put me in a reading slump and at this point I can't finish it. Just the thought of going back to it exhausts me. Nothing in the first 50 pages really stuck out to me as good and so much of it was a problem. Obviously, the biggest and most unsurmountable problem for me was the lack of and dismissal of asexuality and aromanticism. As an aroace woman, seeing asexuality and aromanticism included in a general queer history is obviously gonna be incredibly important to me and the ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: queer, dnf
This book is such a ball of YIKES I'm DNFing it 50 pages in, with a quick skip to the backmatter as well. I know some other reviews have mentioned some of these concerns from the ARC but just to reiterate/add to them from the finished copy: the author incorrectly and inconsistently defines asexuality (ignoring aromanticism and any other nuances along the ace/aro spectrums) and bisexuality (ignoring biromaniticism). The author talks more than once about the gender binary being an outdated and ...more
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual: 3.5

I def agree w people’s frustrations in this book in that sometimes it came across condescending (the bit about “wow people used to READ newspapers?? Not use instagram?? Crazy, right, teens who don’t know anything!” Was so annoying lol), the definition of asexual in the back really isnt that great, but I also think it’s unfair to dismiss this book as a whole and say that there is nothing worthwhile about it because that’s really not true.

This book is really good in that it gives a lot
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm quite disappointed with this one. It might be something I return to later, but I feel as though there's a lot of reaching going on here, in addition to some misrepresentation through diction.
First, the early history is mostly spent on people's friendships. While I do believe some of these people were actually gay, I'm going to guess that some of this was due to a different take on masculinity. That, and Bronski didn't even assume they were gay. Some people presented were presented as good,
Casey Peel
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book to see if it would be a good one for my 13-year-old niece. I think she's a bit too young for this right now but I can see it being good for her next year (with her parents' consent).

I want to preface the review by saying that the definition of asexual in the glossary is not just bad but actively damaging. I'm at a loss for why it was even included as I could find no mention of asexual/aces in the entire book (which, itself, is a huge miss). If you give this book to a young
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
My inclination when I started the book was four stars and although I've debated somewhat, I'm choosing to stick with that - primarily because there were people and events discussed in this book that I didn't know about and I appreciated that thoroughness. I appreciated as well that the book did not only focus on gay, lesbian, or trans individuals specifically, but also dealt with individuals and events that simply pushed outside of the traditional norm of heterosexual relationships or marriage - ...more
TammyJo Eckhart
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was a bit concerned when I got this book to review because I've seen so many article and books about LGBTQ+ folks in history that were utterly unhistorical with assumptions made about relationships and evidence looked at in an ahistorical fashion. Author Michael Bronshi not only gives the evidence but the historical context for that understanding that evidence.

Bronshi also embraces a fuller meaning for the word "queer" and includes anyone who falls outside the heteronormative models. These is
Nov 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: no-thanks
LMAO I think Goodreads removed my review for this book?? Well fuck that.

This book deserves a one-star rating because it fails in its basic premise: to present QUEER HISTORY. You can't erase asexuality/aromanticism and present an accurate/complete view of queer history. You can't deny or be ignorant of the history of asexuality and claim to have the adequate knowledge base necessary to write a book on queer history. I don't trust this author, I don't trust this book. More reviews about the
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer-lit, loft-ya
This book does in depth on the history of queer people starting with the indigenous people and specific tribal beliefs on the matter. This book covers many stories of queer people throughout the history of the united states and the author does their best to use terminology fitting to them based on what they referred themselves to or what we know about that time period. The biggest issue with this book is that it lacks information and stories of people who identify as asexual, and it does mention ...more
The actual political history was woven in through a series of mini biographies of individuals important to the LGBTQIA+ community. While those were interesting, I'd have liked more about how the various political movements affected the country as a whole. It should be noted that lesbian, gay, and transgender folks have the most representation here. Bisexuality and intersex individuals are mentioned only briefly. There is a complete lack of discussion of asexuality or any asexual individuals, and ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, non-fiction
This is an incredibly important book for everyone, not just those that identify themselves as LGBTQ+ I wish my memory was good enough to remember all the amazing stories of the brave people profiled in this book, it's not. But what I really took away is how suppressed the history of LGBTQ+ people has been in the US (though it's certainly not just an issue here). The profiles introduced me to people who have fought hard, and done extraordinary things, but I had only heard of a handful before ...more
Aliena Jackson
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
The title of this book is “A Queer History of the United States”, but there were not that many queer people in this book. It was mostly “Here are some straight people that cross dressed once and here are some people who definitely weren’t gay but they might have been! Also, romantic friendships do not mean someone was gay, even if their letter explicitly state that they were together.” For a book that claims to have so much representation, it was surprisingly bland. 2/5 stars.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
i think this book had potential and it kind of did what it needed to, but there were some issues that were just...........not great y'know. like sexuality is a really hard thing to write about and i don't believe the author had any malicious motivations, but he did miss the mark sometimes. it is a nice easy to read resource about some key lgbt+ figures in history, though!
Zoe (semi-hiatus)
Jul 26, 2019 marked it as dnf-d
I was going to read this, but slowly going down the reviews as this is a 2.94 book I was cautious. Which lead me to a link of the author being acephobic. YIKES NO. GET OUT. LEAVE MY LIFE. BYEEEE!

P.S. Here's the twitter Thread
Oct 08, 2019 added it
This is worth a read - it is profiles of queer leaders and activists throughout the history of the United States. This is is branded for young people, but any age could benefit from it. A few people I would particularly highlight: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, Pauli Murray, Bayard Rustin, Kiyoshi Kuromiya.
*Deep inhale* Petition to rename this A Problematic Book that We're Still Going to Give to Young People Anyway. Because that’s what this is. Problematic.

Don’t take me the wrong way. The subject matter is great, it’s the execution that’s gone a bit wrong. This book does not deserve a coherent review, so we're going off on tangents.

First off, the book itself talks down to the reader. The whole time I felt as if I was being scorned or treated as a child. I get that this is an adaptation, but the
Although it was a long, it did discuss historical events in queer history that I did not know and never would have thought of. It does open your eyes how far LGBTQ history has come and the work that still has to be done.
This book should have been examined more completely by a wide range of queer people before being published. Ironically, the tone of the language is very careful (and dry), and yet it makes some pretty serious missteps. Too bad.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Lots of great historical information. I think it would be a great read for anyone, especially if you have any interest in the subject.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable book! I didn't know almost any of the people mentioned but I learned so much. This is a good book for LGBTQ youth and I'm interested to see how the adult version differs.
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Michael Bronski has written extensively on LGBT issues for four decades. He has published widely in the LGBT and mainstream press and his work appears in numerous anthologies. He is a Senior Lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies and Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College.