Tuesday 27 June 2017

Book Review: Same Sex Love 1700-1957: A History and Research Guide by Gill Rossini

Title: Same Sex Love 1700-1957: A History and Research Guide
Author: Gill Rossini
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Publication Date: 31 July 2017
Pages: 182
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/History/LGBT
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Family history is often seen as the stories of people who were part of a traditional family unit, married to someone of the opposite gender, had children and lived their lives as 'normally' as possible. But what of the relatives who could not accept that this was the life for them, and were attracted to same-sex partners? Was it possible for them to live their life as they wished to, with their chosen partner and without hindrance, ridicule or attack? Would they be breaking the law in doing so, and how would family and society react if they were found out? Some of those concerned married and had children, like the majority, and buried their feelings in the bustle of everyday life; others stayed single but abstained from relationships altogether, as a way of keeping safe. A number managed to live openly and proudly as themselves, challenging the prejudices and misconceptions of the day. This is the story of all those people, the brave, the discreet, the frightened, the loving and the loved, as well as love against all the odds; more than likely, it is a story that can be found in every family history. Told in an empathetic and clear-sighted way, this is the first history of same-sex relationships aimed specifically at family historians and offers valuable insights into the lives of those who were often seen as outcasts. It includes research guidance for genealogists researching this often-neglected aspect of family history, and offers invaluable insights into the families, society and culture they lived in. (Goodreads Synopsis)

In Same Sex Love 1700-1957, Gill Rossini offers readers an overview of LGBT history. She considers the lives of those interested in pursuing LGBT relationships across the centuries, along with the legal and social restraints they faced. To do this, she considers court cases, news reports, and the correspondence and experiences of famous figures, and she creates an interesting study that will benefit a diverse readership. While clearly aimed at family history researchers, this book will also appeal to social historians (particularly those with an LGBT-focus) and authors of LGBT historical fiction who are looking for authenticity in their tales.

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