"A beautifully-crafted book that will serve as a benchmark work for years to come."Vicki Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America
In beautiful style, Hurewitz engages the history of sexuality writ large. He provides a fascinating look at the development of bohemian Los Angeles, its overlap of artists and activists, and presents this material in a new light that tells the story of the emergence of homosexual civil rights movements through the art and politics of the day. This will certainly impact the direction of the field."Nan Alamilla Boyd, author of Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965
"An important and highly original book. It is at once a history of homosexual and homosocial thought and behavior, modernism and modernist expression, and radical political engagement. Its restorative, poignant character allows the reader to visit lost neighborhoods where social and political threads brought together a compelling group of people."William Deverell, author of Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past
"Hurewitz truly opens Los Angeles' closet door in this stunning history of the 'Red Hills' above Silver Lake where radical countercultures dreamed, cavorted, and agitated for a better world."Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
In this fascinating, accessible history of Los Angeles's Boho world in the first half of the 20th century, Hurewitz shows how "groups of individuals who engaged in similar activities and sought to adopt a shared self-definition" made a major social impact. Focusing on the community of Edendale, on the edge of Silver Lake Reservoir, Hunter College history professor Hurewitz begins by examining the social circle of the once world-famous drag performer Julian Eltinge and the gay male scene in the 1930s. He moves from there to Edendale's incredibly productive arts scene in the 1930s. In outlining the ties between artists, homosexuals and Communist-based community organizers in the postwar years, Hurewitz makes an intriguing and convincing case that art and politics were the perfect mix in "constructing an organized community." His book is particularly illuminating on the very public "fairy and pansy" subcultures of the 1930s and '40s and how they provoked a right-wing backlash from city government that also resulted in hysteria about a Communist menace. Hurewitz concludes with a discussion of homosexual Communist Harry Hay, who formed the first gay rights group, the Mattachine Society, in 1950. Filled with groundbreaking research, this engaging study dovetails nicely with Lillian Fademan and Stuart Timmon's recent work on Gay L.A., and deserves its own popular readership. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.