Larry Kramer’s American People in 4,000 Pages

New York magazine's Jesse Green takes a look at Larry Kramer's 4,000 page historical journey, The American People, which he's been at work on since 1978, the triumphs, failures, and fights in between then and now, and what will likely be seen as its most controversial topics when it's published (hopefully in 2011):

Manuscript Though The American People includes controversial sections set
in worlds and times Kramer has himself experienced, it is his
“queering” of beloved historical figures that will surely get the most
attention. “His idea of history is that everyone was gay: Joe Louis, De
Gaulle, anybody,” jokes Kramer’s friend and Yale classmate Calvin
Trillin. With Lincoln, at least, Kramer isn’t alone; recent academic
studies, and articles in the popular press, have debated the nature of
Lincoln’s feelings for his roommate Joshua Speed, with whom he shared a
bed for four years and a loving correspondence thereafter. But Kramer
says he has new evidence, including details of other male lovers, that
expands on accounts that first came to light when a diary and stash of
letters were supposedly found under the floorboards of a building in
which Lincoln and Speed lived together. Even so, what he writes about
other famous names in American history will, he advertises, prove “far
more stomach-turning” to the masses.

“I do not think it is too much to state that Washington was major gay,”
he says. “That the big love of his life was Hamilton, who returned that
love, and that Lafayette and Washington were involved with each other
romantically over many years. Others I go into include Lewis, who was
desperately in love with Clark, and who committed suicide when the
expedition was over and he would be with Clark no more.” He says he has
“much, much better stuff” about J. Edgar Hoover than anyone has
reported, as well as on FDR’s foreign-policy adviser Sumner Welles,
former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, and even
Kramer’s old nemesis Ed Koch, who has lived in the same building as
Kramer since he left Gracie Mansion, and who always denied joining the

Larry Kramer Takes Historians to Task for Denying Gays a History [tr]
Larry Kramer Rails at Yale's 'Conspiracy of Silence' on Gay History [tr]
Larry Kramer Slams Gay Orgs: 'Lazy, Torpid, Unimaginative, Useless' [tr]

Posted December 28, 2009 at 8:00am ETC by Andy Towle
in Books, Larry Kramer, News