OVERRIDE

My Queer War

James Lord

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A POWERFUL STORY OF SEXUAL AWAKENING DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR FROM THE NOTED MEMORIST AND CRITIC

In My Queer War, James Lord tells the story of a young man’s exposure to the terrors, dislocations, and horrors of armed conflict.

In 1942, a timid, inexperienced twenty-one-year-old Lord reports to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to enlist in the U.S. Army. His career in the armed forces takes him to Nevada and California, to Boston, to England, and eventually to France and Germany, where he witnesses firsthand the ravages of total war on Europe’s land and on its people. Along the way he comes to terms with his own sexuality, experiences the thrill of first love and the chill of disillusionment with his fellow man, and in a moment of great rashness makes the acquaintance of the world’s most renowned artist, who will show him the way to a new life.

My Queer War is a rich and moving record of one man’s maturation in the crucible of the greatest war the world has known. If his war is queer, it is because each man’s experience is strange in its own way. His is a story of universal significance and appeal, told by a wry and eloquent observer of the world and of himself.

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One NOVEMBER 1942

It all began beside the war-torn sea. In Atlantic City. Truly a queer setting—out of place for an epic adventure, let alone a good venue for making a young man ready to perform the daredevil feats of wartime avaiators. Yet this second-rate, overbuilt resort had been dreamed up like the locus of a psychedelic fantasy by the U.S. Army Air Force for the basic training of would-be fliers into the wild blue yonder. All the Xanadu pleasure domes left vacant by wartime retrenchment were thought well suited for billeting transient thousands of glassy-eyed r

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REVIEWS

Praise for My Queer War

My Queer War is magnificent . . . There has never been anything quite like it and it deserves to become a classic.” —Larry Kramer

“Here’s proof that all wars could be a tiny bit less brutal with gay people serving in the military.” —John Waters

“It’s an amazing testament to one individual’s struggle with a barbarism mostly erased from triumphalist accounts of Nazi Germany’s defeat . . . But what really stands out, what one suspects will be most enduring about this remarkable memoir, is the way in which Lord’s outsider-ness gave him a particular perspective and a particular moral compass . . . About the prose: it’s so extremely good that Lord has the confidence to flirt with making it bad, simply not to give a damn about verging on the purple . . . This is a work of supreme calculation, every comma fixed in place .  .  . In this estimation it is evidence of genius.” —Lewis Gannett, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

“The author writes with occasional archness, much irony and good humor . . . It is clear that he and other gay soldiers on the battlefield did as much as anyone to win the war . . . A timely, artfully written memoir of one man’s war.” —Kirkus Reviews

“His unflinching, insolent honesty constantly got him into trouble with his superiors . . . But his cheekiness also gained him entry into the drawing rooms of Picasso and Gertrude Stein, setting the stage for a charmed life and fruitful writing career . . . The story is captivating . . . Recommended for fans of expatriate writers like Edmund White and Gore Vidal and for those seeking a corrective to the standard World War II memoir.” —David Gibbs, Library Journal

 

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • James Lord

  • JAMES LORD's books include A Giacometti Portrait, first published in 1965, and Giacometti: A Biography (FSG, 1985), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent work is Mythic Giacometti (FSG, 2003).
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Available Formats and Book Details

My Queer War

James Lord

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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