Cruising - An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime Book
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"Espinoza's book stands out as a beacon for future queer writers, thinkers, and activists. Reading these accounts, I felt myself drawn into a past both wonderful and strange, a world I hope we will continue to celebrate and preserve." ―Garrard Conley
Acclaimed author Alex Espinoza takes readers on an uncensored journey through the underground, to reveal the timeless art of cruising. Combining historical research and oral history with his own personal experience, Espinoza examines the political and cultural forces behind this radical pastime.
From Greek antiquity to the notorious Molly houses of 18th century England, the raucous 1970s to the algorithms of Grindr, Oscar Wilde to George Michael, cruising remains at once a reclamation of public space and the creation of its own unique locale―one in which men of all races and classes interact, even in the shadow of repressive governments
In Uganda and Russia, we meet activists for whom cruising can be a matter of life and death; while in the West he shows how cruising circumvents the inequalities and abuses of power that plague heterosexual encounters.
Ultimately, Espinoza illustrates how cruising functions as a powerful rebuke to patriarchy and capitalism―unless you are cruising the department store restroom, of course.
"Espinoza's painstakingly documented love letter to cruising is a rare achievement. Not only does he excavate an oft-hidden and -policed queer history, but he also topples the myth that LGBTQ progress conforms to a single, 'straight' narrative. In a culture that often flattens queer stories to fit assimilationist standards, Espinoza's book stands out as a beacon for future queer writers, thinkers, and activists. Reading these accounts, I felt myself drawn into a past both wonderful and strange, a world I hope we will continue to celebrate and preserve."
Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased
"Alex Espinoza's much-anticipated book takes readers on a unique 'cruise' through places of public gay-sex connections, from early times to today's apps and sites; and the result is as lively and entertaining as a boldly intimate, and wonderfully written, memoir. "
John Rechy, author of City of Night
"Just in time for Pride Month, this is a fascinating history of cruising as a pillar of gay culture."
Sarah Nielson, The Brooklyn Rail
"What makes this book so appealing is the way Espinoza combines his own experiences of cruising with a cogent analysis of the role of cruising... and he writes beautifully. Recommended for LGBT and contemporary culture collections."
"For a raunchier yet no less incisive take on the intricacies of gay sex, romance and search for community, Alex Espinoza’s Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime takes readers on an inspired, greatest-hits tour of public bathrooms, bathhouses and wooded areas in cities the world over to reveal the scintillating backstory of anonymous gay sex and its evolution, from Greek antiquity to the present."
Alexis BurlingSan Francisco Chronicle