Gay Warriors: A Documentary History from the Ancient World to the Present

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NYU Press, Dec 1, 2001 - Social Science - 299 pages

In Ancient Greece and Rome, in Crusader campaigns and pirate adventures, same-sex romances were a common and condoned part of military culture. From the Peloponnesian War to the Gulf War, from Achelleus to Lawrence of Arabia gays and lesbians have played a crucial but often hidden role in military campaigns. But recent debates over the legality of gay service in the military and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have obscured this rich aspect of military history. Richard Burg has recovered important documents and assembled an anthology on these often invisible gay and lesbian warriors.

Burg shows us that the Amazons of legend weren't just fictional. We learn about the richness and variety of their culture in documents from Plato, Seneca and Suetonius. From courts-martial proceedings we discover women warriors in seventeenth century England who passed as men in order to serve, and army officers whose underground culture fostered long-term romantic friendships.

There are also sections on the American Civil War, World War I and II, the contemporary U.S. military as well as sailors and pirates. This anthology will forever change the way we think about "gays in the military."

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Gay warriors: a documentary history from the ancient world to the present

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Questions about whether or not gays should serve in the military are slightly off. The reality is that they do and always have. If proof is necessary, this insightful compilation of essays on gay and ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

B.R. Burg is Professor of History at Arizona State University and the author of Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition, also available from NYU Press.

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