BECOMING GAY

THE JOURNEY TO SELF-ACCEPTANCE

Isay (Being Homosexual, 1989) discusses the role psychoanalysis can play in helping gay men to embrace their identity. Himself a gay psychoanalyst, Isay frequently slips into awkward phrasings and clinical jargon (his meaning is always clear, but his words aren't always felicitous—verbs like ``self- acknowledge'' creep into his prose). Though the book is enlivened by examples from both his life and his therapeutic practice, he sometimes uses frustratingly general and stilted language to describe them. In recounting an event from his own life, for instance, Isay writes that differences between himself and his lover ``enhanced the relationship''—yet he doesn't say what those differences were. He also devotes a chapter to a thoughtful discussion of the dilemma of the gay therapist: When is it appropriate for him to disclose his sexual orientation to patients? He explores the particular needs of gay teenage patients, gay men married to women (as Isay himself was), patients with HIV and AIDS, and elderly men who are just beginning to embrace a gay identity. Interestingly, unlike many in his profession, he takes an optimistic view of the potential for successful therapy for the gay elderly. An especially useful final chapter lucidly and concisely outlines the author's struggles to change the well-known and entrenched heterosexist biases within the profession of psychoanalysis—efforts that, after an eight-year battle, culminated in the American Psychoanalytic Association's 1991 statement opposing discrimination against lesbians and gay men who want to pursue training in its affiliated institutes. This was, in effect, a dramatic disavowal of the APA's unwritten policy, and an indication that the profession may be abandoning its longtime practice of pathologizing homosexuality. An accessible glimpse of a gay-positive approach to psychoanalysis, which should interest both the gay and psychoanalytic communities. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42159-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1996

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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