Jeffrey Weeks has written one of the most compelling honest portrayals of historical gay life in the late 1800's. Why is this important? Early gay history has been misrepresented and altered by the general biographers and scholars, thus history has been re-written. Weeks has added another honest portrayal of historical facts. Are they pretty? Are they brutal? Are the heros depicted warts-and-all? Weeks has gone beyond the superficial taglines that others so frequently write about and inspected the raw facts of sex, lies, bigotry; as well as beauty, love, and the need to feel part of a culture forced to remain hidden in the Victorian age. Weeks has utilized all the truly significant writers and references in a spellbinding storyline. Frankly, I could not put the book down. If one wants to understand how the gay movement painfully plodded along with accurate reflections and gritty portrayals of the gay father's and mother's (yes he also adds significant Lesbian portrayals and has devoted chapters dealing with the invisible Lesbian history) then read this compelling book. Why should you believe me? Because I have been a collector of gay history and have assembled a scholarly library of thousands of books comprising John Addington Symonds, Mrs. and Havelock Ellis, Edward Carpenter, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Radclyffe Hall for 25 years and own most of the books that Weeks utilizes. Weeks has involved all the significant 'gay players' and books. Impressive and a MUST-READ and the reader will be spellbound!