THE BOYS OF BOISE by John Gerassi


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Subtitled: Furor, Vice, and Folly in an American City, this is both an expose of how Boise, Idaho was hoodwinked into believing that it was the center of a homosexual explosion, and is a brief review of gay doings across the country. It also pinpoints some serious miscarriages of justice (the author is an old Time and Newsweek hand). The scandal erupted in 1955 when a so-called homosexual ring was unearthed by a Boise probation officer and trumpeted in scare headlines. Over 100 homosexual ""monsters"" were involved, adepts at seducing minors. Five men were arrested, and convicted, in the first wave, and twelve later, including a 52-year-old bank executive, a pianist, a shoe clerk and a lawyer. The arrests led to coerced confessions, a lad murdering his father, a West Point cadet's dismissal from the Academy, a life sentence and a raft of heavy sentences. Among the more injurious sentences was a five-year term for an act between consenting adults which never took place. (The man served his term.) The whole scare was politically motivated. Some of the seduced minors were revealed as the actual seducers of adults, for profit and blackmail. A swatch of frank trial transcript is included that pulls no punches, nor does Gerassi hold back in scoring Idaho's antiquarian attitudes.

Publisher: Macmillan