• The Deviant's War

  • The Homosexual vs. the United States of America
  • By: Eric Cervini
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (211 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"Vikas Adam draws the listener in, expertly narrating Cervini's work, which charts the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States...Vikas Adam does an excellent job lending unique voices to real historical figures." (AudioFile Magazine) 

A Publishers Weekly most anticipated spring book

From a young Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall

In 1957, Frank Kameny, a rising astronomer working for the US Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back. 

Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and 40,000 personal documents, Eric Cervini's The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2020 Eric Cervini (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about The Deviant's War

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Big Surprise

I bought this on a lark thinking I’d never listen to 15 hour book on history much less gay history. Well....WOW....it was a super engaging story and I was in it from beginning to end. This is a must read for anyone in the LGBTQ community. Realizing the sacrifices that were made makes one appreciate what one has. I’m a gay veteran, husband, dad all because of what the protagonists in this story did.

7 people found this helpful

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THE most important book on Queer history to date

THE DEVIANT'S WAR is easily THE most important book written on Queer history to date.

TDW shines a spotlight on the earliest days of the gay rights movement, some 20+ years before the riot at Stonewall. It is meticulously researched and brilliantly executed, detailing in-depth the legal struggles American homosexuals faced to decriminalize homosexuality and fight against forced "morality" by the US government.

Sixty years later, many of the same arguments are beginning to resurface as some "moralist" Congressmen/women suggest re-criminalizing homosexuality. TDW is an excellent textbook on how to combat the negative stereotypes, "religious" objections, and outright unconstitutionality of such laws. Frank Kameny is an unsung American hero, and his story should be told and retold for generations to come.

Narration is near perfect. Adam's overly accentuated perfect speech sometimes is a distraction, but the material is so meaty that is easily overooked.

HIGHLY recommended. The Deviant's War should be required reading.

5 people found this helpful

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Brilliant in every way

This is absolutely essential for anyone interested in gay history. Beyond the usual references to Stonewall and other monumental aspects of the struggle for equality, the narrative begins earlier than 1969 and takes you on a journey most all of us have never been on before. I implore you to give this your time. Thank you.

5 people found this helpful

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6/15/2020 Sup Crt rules LGBT protected rights

At the 50% mark it was kind of surreal to be listening to this book when the Supreme Court decision came down. The court said the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I grew up with an atmosphere of needing to hide I was gay from my parents and teachers and most of my friends. I could sense things were changing, but never in my wildest imagination did I think I would see same sex marriage legalized and now sex discrimination declared illegal.

As an out gay man who has been bullied, listening about Kamany standing up to the government is thrilling. As thrilling as this is, the book has an immense amount of information and a lot of it is kind of repetitive. If it were a novel, the editor would have urged the author to shorten it. Because it is almost a biography the facts are what they are. There is much tedious work required to fight the US Government and the milestones we appreciate today were made on the achievements of Kamany and others that stood up so many decades ago.

The narrator made all the difference in keeping my interest in the book. His inflection and urgency made everything seem real.

3 people found this helpful

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Stonewall Prior to Stonewall

I must admit that prior to this book, I never heard of Frank Kameny. I have come to the realization that he is THE Rosa Parks of The Gay Crusade! His journey and sacrifices are very emotional and monumental. He lived to see many triumphs for Gay Liberation and did have a meeting with President Barack Obama in The White House prior to his passing at 86 years old!

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Perfect.

Loved it. It was informative, and inspirational. A story of Pride before we knew what it was.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly recommend

What a great way to cover the history of the gay movement and of the real life people that were part of it. I couldn't believe how many little facts were included throughout the entire book. It was read perfectly. Highly recommend and love this book!

1 person found this helpful

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a must-read for any American

an amazing journey.
.. thank God for brave people...
you keep asking yourself how could this have happened

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Who knew?

I had absolutely no idea that Gay and Civil Rights were so intertwined and interrelated historically. Dr. Cervini has thoroughly narrated this misunderstood movement in a relatable and engrossing way. The subject matter was surprisingly a entertaining and compelling page turner.

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Excellent research & storytelling

The Deviant’s War is an excellent read. Not only does Eric Cervini clearly demonstrate his meticulous work in researching the history, he proves that he is an excellent storyteller. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about the lgbt+ movement pre-Stonewall.

1 person found this helpful

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  • nndv,jsd,s\d
  • 06-03-20

Sockets

My first attempts to play this audiobook failed; I assumed that the download had been corrupted, but then I noticed that my headphone jack was plugged into the power socket; silly me! Sensitive equipment should never be forced into a cavity, for which it is not designed; to do so risks causing all sorts of damage!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Devlin Mitchell
  • 11-15-20

Gripping - Le Carré meets LGBT+ history

Essential, gripping and entertaining in equal measure - this is the deeply fascinating history of the US gay rights movement in the 1960s. It explodes the myth that gay life began with the Stonewall riot, and relates the (sometimes comical) pitched battles between J Edgar Hoover and early activists which played into and set the scene for the broader movement building of the 1970s. Well read and highly recommended!