This is a small non-fiction book about LGBT history. It’s a very short book considering its theme, only 128 pages long. It’s also not very dense, with lots of pictures and not that much text on each page.
I read a very dense LGBT history book last year, called Gay Life and Culture: A World History. That one is more of a typical history book, with lots of information, and written more as something you would rather study than read for pleasure. This little book, on the other hand, is perfect if you just want some basic LGBT history, without having to read over 300 dense pages of repetitive facts. I read it in just a few days, while the former took me months to finish, so if you’re interested in the topic but have a short attention span, I highly recommend it.
The writing isn’t that spectacular, and even though the book is short and sweet, the text is rather dry. It’s what you would expect from a history book of course, but for some reason I still thought this would be more exciting. Another fact that made me enjoy it a little less is that I already knew most of the things the author talked about. This is because most of the information in this book is also part the larger volume I mentioned above. Since I had already read that one, I kept thinking: I’ve already read about this. Obviously that is not Parkinson’s fault – he managed to take the most interesting information from Gay Life and Culture and put it into a much more accessible book.
I would also like to mention that this book mainly shares information displayed at the British Museum, as that is where the author works. This limits the selection of pictures and facts in the book, but Parkinson still manages to cover his bases. There is a little bit of everything – the history is international and ranges from thousands of years BC to the present day.
In conclusion, I think this is a wonderful book to start with if you want to learn about LGBT history, but it’s by no means comprehensive. It definitely makes for a beautiful, unique addition to your bookshelves though.
‘Till next time and happy reading!