THE GENTLEMAN FROM MARYLAND: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative by Robert Bauman

THE GENTLEMAN FROM MARYLAND: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An interminable filibuster by a Republican conservative ex-congressman, an arch-opponent of gay fights bills, who was caught paying a 16-year-old boy for sex in a Washington bar. Bauman's narrative is confused; he retells the sordid details: alcoholism, marital breakup, psychiatric mishaps, with little insight, or signs of personal growth. A sad story it is, but Bauman's book scotches any possible sympathy by being both pompous and mean-spirited. There are quotes by every source from Blaise Pascal to the Catholic Mass, yet closer to the heart of the book are the nasty jibes at Democrats, with Bella Abzug and Edward Kennedy invoked. Bauman says on page 2 that the only reason he wrote this book was for money. This is not a mere idle statement, for Bauman's mea culpa truly contributes nothing but the sad facts of his unexamined life. This book explains and clarifies nothing, arrives at no conclusions. Instead, it is a grimly dutiful slogging through events that is depressing, not revelatory. The author's story appears dragged out of him most unwillingly, thus the personal insights are exceptionally limited: Bauman belies his book's subtitle by declaring that he is not gay, but an ""unwilling"" homosexual who would gladly change if he could. Far from accepting himself, he pleads with several psychiatrists to change him to ""normal. ""Bauman's memoir has little to recommend it.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1986
Publisher: Arbor House