Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society (Revised)

Bruce Bawer (Author)


Homosexuality is being talked about more today than at any other time in human history; the issue of gay rights has reached a moment of truth. Yet many people remain remarkably ill-informed about what homosexuality really is. Why? Partly, says Bruce Bawer in this powerful and provocative book, because of the irrational hatred, fears, and lies of bigots who depict a monolithic "gay lifestyle" that threatens "family values." Partly because of a vocal and highly visible minority of gays who equate homosexuality with promiscuity and political correctness; marching in drag or in leather jockstraps on Gay Pride Day, they, too, seriously misrepresent gay life. And partly because most gays, who lead mainstream, often closeted, lives, have kept a low profile, thus leaving the public debate largely to belligerent extremists. This moving, eloquent work - both meditation and manifesto - on the nature of homosexuality is Bawer's attempt to set things right. He strips away the misconceptions that underlie homophobia, critically scrutinizes the lockstep mentality of the extreme gay subculture, and defines the complex moral predicament of the gay individual. Most gays, he points out, are as mainstream as most heterosexuals. They have serious careers and committed relationships; many are religious. They run the gamut in politics, cultural taste, social conventions, and erotic preoccupation and experience. Sexual desire figures in their lives in much the same way and to the same degree as in the lives of heterosexuals. Incisively, Bawer examines such phenomena as the annual Gay Pride March, the coming-out process, and gay marriage, meticulously separating fiction from fact, myth from reality, propagandafrom truth. He is keenly perceptive about the depiction of gay experience in contemporary writing. He is particularly concerned about young gays just coming to terms with their sexual orientation who must cope with conflicting prejudices, stereotypes, and imperatives. At the Linc

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
October 01, 1994
5.56 X 0.66 X 8.53 inches | 0.79 pounds
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About the Author

A native New Yorker who has lived in Norway since 1999, Bruce Bawer has written several influential books on a range of issues. A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society (1993) was named by columnist Dale Carpenter as the most important non-fiction book about homosexuality published in the 1990s; Publishers Weekly called Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity (1997) "a must-read book for anyone concerned with the relationship of Christianity to contemporary American culture"; While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom (2009) was hailed by Booklist as "immensely important and urgent. He has also published several collections of literary and film criticism, including Diminishing Fictions and The Aspect of Eternity, and a collection of poetry, Coast to Coast, which was selected by the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook as the best first book of poems published in 1993. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as The Hudson Review, City Journal, The American Scholar, Wilson Quarterly, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has reviewed books regularly for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Wall Street Journal.