My books include Farm Boys (1996), A Passion To Preserve (2004), and Gay Bar (2010).
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BOOK SUMMARIES (from the publisher, University of Wisconsin Press)
Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest
“Insightful, sometimes humorous, sometimes ordinary, but always fascinating.” —Library Choice
A Best Book of 1996, Esquire Magazine; finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, 1997
Homosexuality is often seen as a purely urban experience, far removed from rural and small-town life. Farm Boys undermines that cliché by telling the stories of more than three dozen gay men, ranging in age from 24 to 84, who grew up in farm families in the midwestern United States. Whether painful, funny, or matter-of-fact, these plain-spoken accounts will move and educate any reader, gay or not, from farm or city.
A Passion To Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture
From large cities to rural communities, gay men have long been impassioned pioneers as keepers of culture: rescuing and restoring decrepit buildings, revitalizing blighted neighborhoods, saving artifacts and documents of historical significance. This penchant to preserve, though widely observed, is typically ignored or dismissed as a stereotypical gay cliché, even by many gay men themselves. A Passion to Preserve explores this dimension of gay men’s lives by profiling early and contemporary preservationists from throughout the United States.
Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s
Outstanding Book, Public Library Association
Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s—America’s most anti-gay decade. In 1957 she published her extraordinary memoir Gay Bar, the first book by a heterosexual to depict the lives of homosexuals with admiration, respect, and love. In this new edition of Gay Bar, Will Fellows interweaves Branson’s chapters with historical perspective from his own commentary and excerpts gleaned from letters and essays appearing in gay publications of the period. The eclectic selection of voices gives the flavor of American life in that extraordinary age of anxiety, revealing how gay men saw themselves and their circumstances, and how others perceived them.