Gay Life Stories
by Robert Aldrich
Thames & Hudson, $39.95 hb, 304 pp, 9780500251843
The author of this handsomely produced volume claims in his opening sentence, ‘The sex lives of celebrities (and the less famous) always excite the curiosity of others.’ For the sake of his book he’d better be right, because what follows are more than eighty gay histories and/or partnerships, each moving inexorably to the matter of sexual orientation and declaration – reluctant or otherwise. Aldrich is probably right. Think of all those journals whose covers you browse while waiting in the supermarket queue, inviting you to speculate on, say, the vicissitudes of Brangelina. Recent political controversies about gay marriage rights or the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy of the US armed forces provide a contemporary context for Aldrich.