• Indecent Advances

  • A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall
  • By: James Polchin
  • Narrated by: Michael Crouch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Indecent Advances

By: James Polchin
Narrated by: Michael Crouch
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Publisher's Summary

A skillful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the relationship between the media and popular culture in the portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall. 

Stories of murder have never been just about killers and victims. Instead, crime stories take the shape of their times and reflect cultural notions and prejudices. In Indecent Advances, James Polchin recovers and recounts queer stories from the crime pages - often lurid and euphemistic - that reveal the hidden history of violence against gay men. 

What was left unsaid in the crime pages provides insight into the figure of the queer man as both criminal and victim, offering readers tales of vice and violence that aligned gender and sexual deviance with tragic, gruesome endings. Victims were often reported as having made "indecent advances," forcing the accused's hands in self-defense and reducing murder charges to manslaughter. 

Published in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969, Indecent Advances investigates how queer men navigated a society that criminalized them and displayed little compassion for the violence they endured. Polchin shows, with masterful insight, how this discrimination was ultimately transformed by activists to help shape the burgeoning gay rights movement in the years leading up to Stonewall.

©2019 James Polchin (P)2019 2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Indecent Advances

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Heartbreaking

It is absolutely heartbreaking that this incredibly well-written and painstakingly-researched book even has to exist. But it does.

Despite the gruesome subject matter of the book, it was rendered with obvious care and attention. I highly recommend to anyone searching to better understand human history and violence.

4 people found this helpful

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Incisive

Polchin manages to simultaneously create a thoughtful history, an edge-of-your seat series of events, and a well prosecuted thesis. The crisp writing is matched by skillful narration -- so good that each disappears, leaving the audience immersed in the content. Not once did I find myself distracted by lazy tropes, hyperbole, or cliche; and every phrase was narrated by Crouch with emotional precision. Truly a 5-star book with timeless lessons that extend beyond any one group.

3 people found this helpful

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Disturbing and sad

This is not an easy one to get through. I had to do it broken up. Some are horrific and violent. It's sad to think these weren't that far back. I'll say this, at least he didn't go through the details of the murder of the 12 shoe shine kid. That would have way too much.

That said it's still worth a go. A reminder of how far we've come and still have to go.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

The audible performance is very good—at times I found myself distracted by the narrator’s dramatic breathing in prior to starting, or in the middle of, a sentence. Polchin’s narrative is captivating, haunting, and troubling. It is clear that he conducted meticulous research, piecing together disparate newspaper articles and accounts of these tragedies.

I wholeheartedly recommend ‘Indecent Advances’ as a title that speaks truth to power.