Virtual Event: Eric Cervini
The Deviant's War:
The Homosexual vs. The United States of America
June 5, 2020
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, Boston Pride, and the Boston Public Library welcome award–winning historian ERIC CERVINI for a discussion of his debut book, The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America.
About The Deviant's War
In 1957, Frank Kameny, a rising astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back.
Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.
Praise for The Deviant's War
"Eric Cervini has gifted us that rarest of treasures, a guidebook for real activism. Page by page, in painstaking detail, we see our flawed and beautifully idealistic hero Frank Kameny fight for basic human rights. Equal parts inspiring and sobering, The Deviant’s War avoids empty valorizing and focuses instead on what it takes to survive in a world that wants to erase you. Should be required reading for queer people and straight allies." —Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased
"The Deviant’s War is a work of striking courage, exposing not only the great nemeses to homosexual freedoms but also the queer turncoats and quislings who exploited a closeted world. Frank Kameny, a central figure in American LGBT+ canon heretofore relegated to the sidelines, finally has a biography of the caliber he deserved. For this ambitious debut, Cervini is to be lauded." —Robert Fiesler, author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation
"The Deviant’s War offers a fast-paced narrative of the early years of the gay rights movement, focusing on the pivotal role of reluctant activist Frank Kameny. Through a careful reading of the sources, Cervini provides fascinating stories and, ultimately, a fresh new interpretation of this important gay rights leader." —David K. Johnson, author of The Lavender Scare
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