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February 2011 Featured Book

Secret Historian by Justin Spring '84Secret Historian
by Justin Spring '84

"This is a rare and important book. Secret Historian is a genuinely captivating combination of clear writing, a clean conscience, and more dirty stories than I ever imagined one life could hold."
--Debby Applegate '89, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher.


Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet and university professor Samuel M. Steward, Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on, and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid (and often very funny) detail.

Until today he has been known only as Phil Sparrow--but an extraordinary archive of his papers, lost since his death in 1993, has provided Justin Spring with the material for an exceptionally compassionate and brilliantly illuminating life-and-times biography. More than merely the story of one remarkable man, Secret Historian is a moving portrait of homosexual life long before Stonewall and gay liberation.

 
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