A critical look at true crime stories in the years leading up to the Stonewall uprising, in which the figure of the queer man was both criminal and victim, offering readers tales of vice and violence that aligned gender and sexual deviance with tragic, gruesome endings.
Polchin...presents a reflective, thoughtful first book that perfectly blends true crime and the history of discrimination against gay men in the 20th century ... Polchin expertly uses men's stories between World War I and the Stonewall Riots to prove that the fight for equal treatment is not over, and that the history of the LGBTQ+ movement is not always one of activism and celebration ... This insightful history of crimes perpetrated against gay men is essential for social history fans. Readers who enjoy well-researched, deliberate social commentary will appreciate Polchin's enlightening and descriptive style.
Although excerpts from sources as stylistically disparate as tabloids, texts, novels, and the Physicians’ Desk Reference curb the fluidity of the prose, they enrich the scope of the book’s analysis to an extent otherwise impossible. Tracing the journey of viciously persecuted people necessitates traveling treacherous, unmapped roads where the final picture is more of a mosaic in progress than a complete work of art ... James Polchin’s Indecent Advances inspires further exploration into the hidden histories of marginalized populations and how the violence they suffer might be the result of a system that excludes some people from its protections, exiling them to places where they are made more vulnerable.
Compact and powerful, Polchin’s social history of crimes against queer men in the first half of the 20th century coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. An important book for an important anniversary ... I have no significant criticisms of this book ... this book is not light reading. Polchin describes these murders in graphic, heartbreaking detail ... Indecent Advances should be required reading. Highly recommended.