Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime

Unnamed Pr. Jun. 2019. 200p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781944700829. pap. $21.99. SOC SCI
In his first work of nonfiction, novelist Espinoza (The Five Acts of Diego Leon; Still Water Saints) integrates his own history into a survey of the various ways that gay men have found one another through informal means. This activity is colloquially known as “cruising” in our time, but it has a long history, which Espinoza demonstrates in his retelling of how ancient Greek and Romans connected with each other, and how Molly houses became meeting places for men in 18th- and 19th-century England. In a provocative section, Espinoza describes the various guides that existed in the mid-20th century and after that provided gay men with data on where to find assignations. He brings the story forward to today in his analysis of apps such as Grindr, without neglecting the dangers that cruising presents. What makes this book so appealing is the way Espinoza combines his own experiences of cruising from adolescence to the present, and as a Chicano, with a cogent analysis of the role of cruising; an antihegemonic activity against a patriarchal system—and he writes beautifully.
VERDICT Recommended for LGBT and contemporary culture collections.

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