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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `I'm sure that people will remember us.' - Sappho of Lesbos
"A Little Gay History' is a reasonably short book, 123 pages in all, full of lovely pictures and interesting discussions on same-sex relationships and how they appear in history. The objects profiled vary greatly in origin and range from prehistoric stone figures to late twentieth century playing cards. Just a small note to any particularly sensitive potential buyers - a...
Published 14 months ago by Clio

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a skate over
the title is the give away.the book scims the surface but does so nicely.I will never ,should I meet one look at a Samurai in quite the same way again.
Published 3 months ago by ttrav


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `I'm sure that people will remember us.' - Sappho of Lesbos, 18 Jun 2013
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
"A Little Gay History' is a reasonably short book, 123 pages in all, full of lovely pictures and interesting discussions on same-sex relationships and how they appear in history. The objects profiled vary greatly in origin and range from prehistoric stone figures to late twentieth century playing cards. Just a small note to any particularly sensitive potential buyers - a significant amount of the pictures included are explicitly sexual. However, I felt all the pictures included were interesting, handled tastefully and ultimately fitted the books content well.

I found the `first recorded gay kiss' of Niankhkhunum and Khnumhoptep in ancient Egypt and the fragmented poems of Sappo, the poetess from Lesbos, really interesting. I liked how the book invited the reader to look at several of the more ambiguous objects, like the Ain Sakhri figures, through a neutral lens, rather then assuming everything from a heterosexual point of view. I was also really intrigued by the romance between Emperor Hadrian and Antinous. The androgyny present in the both figures of Shiva, the dancing god and Lakshminarayan was engrossing to read about, especially coming from a European culture that tends to place emphasis on a strictly male god. The Native American memorial hanging to commemorate those who died from HIV/AIDS was particularly moving.

A small niggle for me was from the introduction in the line up of gay historical figures (p.24-5) there is some evidence to contradict claims that one or two of them predominantly preferred same-sex relationships, such as Richard the Lionheart, who had at least one illegitimate son and reputedly enjoyed the attentions of women. However, this is a very small criticism, which did not effect my overall enjoyment of the book.

I would recommend this book, as it was an absorbing read. I especially enjoyed the different depictions of love and relationships outside of what many past and (sadly) present societies have deemed `normal'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like People in History?, 17 July 2013
This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
What a fantastic little book! It's easy to read and lives up to its playful title offering 'a little' (as in 'A Little Night Music') being neither comprehensive nor overly detailed. There is a well illustrated introduction to the topic and book. Followed by large images of the inspiring objects and descriptions that could send you off exploring new ways of understanding human sexuality, and LGBT identities particularly. There are enough words to give depth and an abundance of good quality pictures from around the world, from the Pacific to Africa, which make it of interest to a wide range of readers even those who think they're familiar with 'Gay History'. It rewards 'dippers in' or 'thorough readers'.

The slim paperback offers a taster of the delights of history often glossed over or ignored. The author wears his (considerable) learning lightly as he highlights the parts of the British Museum's collection that indicate the possibility (and limitations) of same sex relationships across time and space. The book has grown out of years of work by the Museum and reads like something that has been well worked and adapted for a broad audience to appreciate. Importantly the book avoids the trap of reading modern understandings of sexual 'identities' backwards and so isn't shy about the ambiguity of potential historical 'gay icons'. That said it would make a great gift for someone 'coming out' and I certainly wish that I'd had access to a book like this sooner.

If like me the dull worthiness of other 'Gay history' books has all but put you off the topic do give this book a go. It is well informed, amusing and thought provoking. It made me feel pride; in its presentation, tone and the history it explores.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gay representations from the British Museum, 23 Nov 2013
By 
Miguel M. Santos "miguelmsantos" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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This little book from the British Museum provides a good overview of gay representations through time, usually objects from the Museum's collections. Some are well known, such as the Warren Cup, Michelangelo's drawings and the statues of Antinous; but it also covers less known objects from the Pacific, as well as modern ones. Done with the usual quality you would expect from the British Museum, I recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good guide to the British Museum (BM) Collections, 23 Jun 2013
By 
W. J. Herbert - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
This is drawn entirely from the BM collections related to homosexuality which slightly limits its thesis. Another BM publication 'Sex or Symbol' by Catherine Johns puts same sex relationships more firmly in their very natural and unremarkable place in most societies except those dominated by Christianity. To be fair, the introductory essay does attempt this. Good pictures and a good read! For amusement, when in the museum, I sometimes linger awhile near the Warren Cup watching the visitors. They often peer at it for a little while before penny drops and they realize what exactly it is showing. Some look more closely others recoil in evident horror and look around hoping that nobody has seen them taking an interest in such a horrid thing! They, certainly, should be forced to buy the book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars a skate over, 2 Jun 2014
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
the title is the give away.the book scims the surface but does so nicely.I will never ,should I meet one look at a Samurai in quite the same way again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good little read..., 17 Dec 2013
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Richard Madgin (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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This book is small in stature (the clue is in the name) but it has a lot of interesting, fun facts about the history of homosexuality. Perfect for placing on the coffee-table for occasional picking up and dipping in and out of... that way you can remember a few fun facts and try and impress your friends with your in-depth knowledge on the subject. That being said this book isn't perhaps appropriate for the younger children in the family home (as any book about sex, sexuality, etc wouldn't be appropriate at a younger age) so perhaps keep it out of reach until younger members of the family are mature enough to read it responsibly, and respectfully. Otherwise, I think this kind of information could go a long way towards helping to further break down the myths and stereotypes that have come to surround homosexuality in recent generations
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 5 Dec 2013
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K. Galbraith (Worcestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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What a lovely little book. 123 pages of captivating writing and well chosen illustrations, for such a small book it packs a lot in and I spent a very pleasant couple of evenings reading it cover to cover, it's fascinating. I agree with other reviewers reflecting on the small size of the collection from which the book is drawn, and certainly this is worth bearing in mind, however I thought the book was pulled together very sensitively, with an open mind, fully taking this factor into account, and I don't think the small study size in any way detracts from the tantalising window this books offers into same sex relationships through the ages - whatever their flavour. It also serves as a useful reminder that even today same-sex relationships are a rainbow of different expressions, they're not black and white - a fact that is often over looked.

Recommended reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great coffee-table book with brilliant history and pictures, 5 Dec 2013
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Mahesh (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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An excellent coffee-table book that is full of interesting facts from 9000BC to the present. It also contains nice pictures and some history.

The text on dancing pose of Shiva and Lakshminarayan (Indian Gods) was interesting as I never thought of these Gods from that viewpoint. When growing up in a cultural environment, e.g. India in my case you never question why certain Gods are depicted in certain ways and the stories behind those. There is more to be explored in Indian culture though, e.g. there are quite a few related sculptures in the temple at Khajurao in India, there is no mention of that.

My only criticism would be that it almost just scratches the surface of the long history, but perhaps this is meant to be only a light read anyway, highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee table book for the enlightened household, 28 Nov 2013
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Stealth Reviewer (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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I was fascinated by this slim volume, which is based around the artifacts from the British Museum and how they relate, or could be interpreted to relate, to a non-exclusively-heterosexual relationships, love and sexuality.

The introduction is very "scholarly" and might put some people off, though it is beautifully written and does show the the real work and depth that went into producing the book. The rest of it is a delight, spanning gay history for millenia, and is more accessible. It's a well-judged blend which will appeal to many people.

It's a salutary reminder than although we might think of gay relationships as a relatively modern phenomenon, in reality it is really only the modern Western "gay rights" movement in Christianised, Western societies which is the recent event, and non-heterosexual relationships and sexual expression has always been with us, across times and cultures.

A beautifully presented, thought-provoking book I thoroughly recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Condensed History, 21 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. Dk Hamm "hornet123" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World (Paperback)
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Just to put my review into perspective, I'm not gay, although I do have gay friends and family members and do take an interest in all things LGBT. I found this book very enjoyable and interesting to read. It is not an in depth history but is a series of bite size chunks relating to gay culture from 9000 BC to the present day. After a fairly lengthy introduction, each article is presented chronologically and may be about a person, a civilization, an artefact or particular laws and customs of the time.

It is well laid out with plenty of illustrations to enhance each section. It is a fascinating insight into gay history and shows that homosexuality is not the modern trendy thing that many people think but has been around since the dawn of civilization itself.
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