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Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 18. November 2014

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"Excellent and richly documented. . . . The significance of Beachy's book goes beyond his findings on the German roots of the conclusion that homosexuality is a biologically fixed trait.  Beachy's work must also be considered in the larger context of a shift in cultural studies." –V.R. Berghahn, New York Times Book Review

"Beachy's cultivation of the 'other' Germany, heterogeneous and progressive, is especially welcome. . . . At the same time, Beachy enlarges our understanding of how the international gay-rights movement eventually prospered, despite the setbacks that it experienced not only in Nazi Germany but also in mid-century America." –Alex Ross, The New Yorker

"An elucidating, somewhat startling study of how early German tolerance and liberalism encouraged homosexual expression. . . . A brave new work of compelling research." –Kirkus

"This lucidly written narrative includes enough spice (accounts of scandals, secret identities, and crimes) to draw in a general readership. However, Beachy’s deeply researched, carefully structured book is foremost an impressive piece of scholarship." –Publishers Weekly (starred)

"A superb work of historical reclamation–by far the best account we have of the formative years of homosexual identity and emancipation, it is brilliantly researched and beautifully written." –Martin Duberman, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, CUNY

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Robert Beachy was trained as a German historian at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in 1998. He is presently associate professor of history at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A brilliant, one-of-a-kind book. The author's enormous erudition and engagement in his subject matter are evident. For anyone who ever wondered about the genuine fabric of society behind Isherwood's "Berlin Diaries", and the theoretical and real-life forerunners of Stonewall (no, gay rights don't begin in USA in the late 1960s!), this book is indispensable!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Informative and useful information / Gives Germany its proper
due in history of Gay Movement / Rather dry, repetitive, far
too many cases given as examples (less is more I should say)
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x92f76054) von 5 Sternen 45 Rezensionen
25 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x93e32d38) von 5 Sternen A pleasant read, but nothing new. 23. Januar 2015
Von Wayne Dynes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
While it offers little that is new, this book is readable, covering an important period in gay history. Beachy was not ploughing fresh ground - not even in the English-speaking world. Exactly forty years ago, there appeared the breakthrough book of John Lauritsen and David Thorstad, The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935). Anyone who was keeping abreast of these matters in those exciting days of gay liberation read this revelatory book. I certainly did. It was buttressed by a similar volume by James Steakley. Then in 1975, the Arno Press issued an important set of reprints, including a volume of Documents of the Homosexual Rights Movement in Germany (1836-1927), as well as stout volumes by K.H. Ulrichs, Benedict Friedlaender, and Ferdinand Kaarsch-Haack. The last volume is particularly important since it covers same-sex behavior among tribal peoples, a true first. Initially, Magnus Hirschfeld's magnum opus of 1914 was hard to find, but then it was republished in Germany and translated into English. So for anyone curious to look - and we all should be - a lot of valuable information has been available now for years.

These publications were the foundation of the material summarized in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, which appeared in New York in 1990.

Beachy does offer an innovation of a sort. He accepts the Social Constructionist view that the modern homosexual identity emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. However, he wishes to shift the primary locus of that change from Britain, France and the US to Germany, specifically to Berlin. The reason it seems is the interaction of two factors: an upsurge of elite scholarly and medical writing, some of it by homosexuals themselves; and the flowering of a bar and entertainment subculture. The last was swept away after 1933, to be reinvented after World War II. As for the writings, some of which I have mentioned above, their circulation was limited to a small circle of intellectuals. It is not clear how these two disparate factors interacted to produce a new identity. Now somewhat dated, the identity thesis is itself questionable, inasmuch as human beings have engaged in same-sex acts from time immemorial.

Some have complained that all this is ancient history - of only antiquarian interest. What does this stuff have to do with us? There are in fact several connections. In 1924 when Henry Gerber started the first (unfortunately temporary) gay rights group in Chicago. he was specifically imitating the German groups. As a soldier, Gerber had been stationed with the US Army in Germany. Later, when it was launched in LA, the gay movement as we came to know it adopted the term "homophile." This expression was invented by a German, a man named Karl-Günther Heimsoth: via Isherwood and others the adjective came to circulate among the LA founders. Finally, Kinsey amassed a large collection of the German books, some of which he had translated for the use of his own group. Kinsey also emulated Hirschfeld's system of gathering masses of case histories.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92fa7798) von 5 Sternen Knew nothing about gay culture in pre-WWII Berlin.... 19. Januar 2015
Von Bruce McClelland - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Knowing nothing of the gay culture of Berlin (let along the gay culture of the city where I live) this has been a book the gave me an insight into the gay culture of Berlin. The author takes time to trace the origin of gay German culture and at times goes a little over the top describing the pioneeering work of some of its participants. To declare that someone is the "first" publically declared homosexual is something of a reach considering the excesses of the Roman empire. The German researchers into gay culture did go to pains to give words to gay individuals. I've read dozens of books describing the Nazi culture and the war machine they created, but this is one of the first on the "counter culture" to not only the Weimar republic, but the Nazi regime as well. This is a book filled with insight and research of a movement that was cut short before it reached its apex. The mysteries of the Nazi movement rise to power in Germany has always been expressed as how could a super civilized and well educated nation could stoop to support such thuggish Nazi leadership. Gay Berlin describes the gay sexual freedom that represented an anathema to to Nazi's seemingly rigid moral codes of conduct. Scratch the surface of the Nazi ideology and it was anything but rigid. Brutal, yes -- but its rigity was anything but consistent. Maybe people who are more emersed in gay cultures might think this book pedantic. As a guy who is a neophyte to ANY gay culture anywhere this book was insightful and tried hard to trace the origins of gay culture in Berlin & Germany. Another thing I'd like to add. Pre-WWII Berlin was looked upon as a beacon of free expression, education, arts, entertainment and debauchery. You can understand why the Munich based Nazis never really felt comfortable in a city with that reputation. I'll give the book a 4 star rating because it is the first of its kind I've read and treated me with an insight into a culture I knew nothing about. It may be the best but, who knows. Read it and find out for yourself.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92fa76d8) von 5 Sternen Fascinating Portrait of Gay Society 28. Dezember 2014
Von Constant Reader - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In many ways this book reminds me of the book, Gay New York. Both of them describe gay society in the two cities at approximately the same time in history. From the turn of the twentieth century until the beginning of World War 2 gay life was pretty much accepted and free as long as you weren't outrageous. I find it interesting that many of the Germans in the 1920s were enlightened enough to think homosexuality was part of one's make up as opposed to personal choice. .

My only complaint about this book is that I wish there were more personal stories. I realize the Nazis destroyed many records. However, I wonder if Mr. Beachy could have found more personal histories in the memoirs of Isherwood, Auden, Spender, etc. who spent time in Berlin during this period.

If you are interested in gay history then this is a must for your library.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92fa496c) von 5 Sternen Berlin rescues its relevance in gay identity and fight for freedom. 29. März 2015
Von Ricardo Rohm - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Beautifully writen and full of interesting references and curiosities, Gay Berlin rescues the brightness and political relevance of the crucial role the city of Berlin played along the end of the nineteenth and the begining of the twenyieth centuries. Modern identity and LGBT activism has a long history before the north american social movements and Berlin not only pionnered this human rights struggle but also built and designed much of the so-called gay aesthetics and group behaviours which can be found nowadays within urban centres and communities all over the world. It is really an important achievement and also a delightful reading. Enjoy Berlin and Berlin - the book.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x92fa4648) von 5 Sternen This is an excellent book, although it's probably a little too academic ... 24. Januar 2016
Von Tedders - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is an excellent book, although it's probably a little too academic for many modern readers. But I look at the academic rigor in the book is a good thing. The book is convincing precisely because it supports what it asserts with reliable research rather than on general impressions. Nevertheless, the writing is not that dense, and if readers will just stick with it, they will find that the effort pay off a hudnredfold. In fact, if you're into the history of this period and the whole gay movement, you won't be able to put this book down. Gay activism began long before Stonewall riot of '69. If it hadn't have been for the rise of the Nazis to power, gay marriage would have been an issue decided back in the 70s at the latest. Really, I had no idea just how extensive gay life and culture was in the Weimar Republic, and to some extent even in the late 19th century, although there were also a major fascistic wrong turn (namely, the Mannerbund which aligned itself with Nazi Aryanism foolishly expecting that it could find acceptance in the Third Reich). Still in all, Berlin was indeed the first San Francisco! Forget your London and Paris! Magnus Hirschfield is a true gay hero in my mind. I can hardly wait for the "sequel" to come out: "Long Knives: Homosexuality in Nazi Germany." Once the Nazis tightened their control, everything went downhill fast for homosexuals in addition to the Jews. I liken that transformation to what would happen if all of a sudden ISIS were to take over San Francisco. I wish Beachy would come back to the US some time and do presentations at Holocaust Museums across the country. He deserves a lot of recognition. Furthermore, I highly recommend a related work "An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin" by Gad Beck. In this memoir, you get a better idea what Berlin was like once the disco lights were finally extinguished. The before-and-after contrast is staggering.
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