£11.57
  • RRP: £11.88
  • You Save: £0.31 (3%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 13 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Secret Historian: The Lif... has been added to your Basket
Trade in your item
Get a £0.50
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade Paperback – 19 Jul 2011

9 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£11.57
£5.92 £7.43
£11.57 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 13 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for your child's school by voting for their favourite book. Learn more.
  • Prepare for the summer with our pick of the best selection for children (ages 0 - 12) across Amazon.co.uk.


Trade In this Item for up to £0.50
Trade in Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.50, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux; Reprint edition (19 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374533024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374533021
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.5 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Secret Historian Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, "Secret Historian" is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the 20th century. Full description

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bagoas on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
Secret Historian, The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, professor, tattoo artist and sexual renegade, is one of the best biographies I've ever read. Largely the allure of the book owns, of course, to the extraordinary life of its subject. But the author's effort is also out of the ordinary. Dealing with a rich documental collection, Justin Spring makes a very close reading and a careful and complete examination of what was Steward's life, and how Steward lived it.

In other words, we know not only the events and episodes that constituted his life, but also his reflections, his desires, how he rationalized what happened to him, and his opinions and reactions to either aspects of his personal life or related to what was happening around him. The analysis of Steward's papers was complemented with numerous interviews, and with analysis of the papers of other protagonists in his life.

Samuel Steward lived so intensely and even wildly, his sexuality and his homosexuality. Especially at a time when moral repression was strong, and homosexuals were illegal and underground. From these experiences, it's registering and it's context, Justin Spring wrote a history of homosexuality in America (but not only, as it follows the adventures of Steward in Europe, particularly in Paris and in Rome), that is particularly relevant in regard of the years before Stonewall, i.e. before the gay liberation movement that grows from 1969 on.

The quality of the writing is notable, and the text is never heavy or monotonous. On the contrary, there is a successful balance between narrative and other more reflective snippets, between the comment and the testimony, between the more historic analysis and the hottest episodes from Stewards' life.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Marshall on 1 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is really a ground-breaking book. Before reading it I wondered why he kept such detailed records of his sexual encounters, but after learning that he was working with Kinsey it was less awkward. His "Lifetime documentation of his sexual activity was something he began simply as a way of creating order and sense out of his daily experience of the world" and something he later successfully mined for his fiction work. In the end his "Studfile" consisted of 746 cards and documented the years 1924-1974. After finishing the book I wonder if it was indeed too much: too many intimate details about sex, diseases, oxygen tanks and human emotions and failings. But Steward would probably be amused - if he did not want this to happen he would not have written it ALL down. This is a story that we can all learn from and that would please Steward.

Born in Ohio, raised by two maiden aunts, he wanted to become a writer and had an auspicious start, but never made it to the next level. He used his love of language to became a professor of English and taught for around twenty years at universities in Chicago. He seems to have been liked by his students, but working at religious universities eventually got the better of him. Besides all of his sexual adventures, he started to tattoo on the side! It was during his time in Chicago that he was introduced to Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey's "Sexual Response in the Human Male" had just come out and made him famous. He was very interested in Steward and his complete openness. The Dr. and his team were allowed to have copies of much of the Studfile for research purposes.

Police entrapment, interrogation, bribes and blackmail of gay men were becoming ever more common. Eisenhower even prohibited homosexuals from working in the civil service.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOSEPH OLIVER on 30 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stumbled across a reference to this book on a blog and decided to give it a shot. Having an interest in unrecorded or unknown history I thought it would be interesting despite the fact that I had never heard of the man - even casually - nor had any interest in those obsessions that filled his life. I was interested in the fact that he was a man with a brain who decided to live out his fantasy life even if it did mean he had to take the disdain of those around him outside his immediate circle.

The book is very well researched and was obviously a labour of love rather than a money making undertaking. It is copiously annotated lest anyone living or those belonging to them decide to take a court case! The author has a very fluid writing style with practically no repetition. When he does repeat, it is to draw the reader's attention back to someone or some incident mentioned previously. This was important because the book is over 400 pages long and Sam Steward knew an awful lot of people (and quite a few awful ones too!). It is not necessary to have any interest in the topics which obsessed Steward - S&M and tattooing with the latter being a support for his interest in the former because it gave him access to so many young vigorous sailors, policemen and armed forces personnel. These two topics (and his very detailed obsessive recording of his personal bedroom activities for Kinsey and himself) are diluted by his cultured education and intelligence. He had the means to put all his experience into a coherent, articulate order. To the prurient, like myself, we are spared the details of what went on behind closed doors. It is alluded to and if you are interested in that topic you will be disappointed but such information is quite easily available today compared to when Steward was alive.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback