My review of Secret City, one of the summer’s most rewarding history titles, is at PopMatters:
The difference between America’s capital and its other cities, according to James Kirchick’s densely detailed, panoramic, and eye-opening new history Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington, was that life in the federal seat of power during the Cold War came with an extra layer of paranoia. That fear manifested as extreme state-sponsored homophobia. Everywhere else in America, gayness was perceived as a threat to various orders (familial, religious) that lived primarily in people’s minds. But in Washington, being gay—or, more crucially, being discovered as gay—was seen as a threat to the very security of the nation….
You can hear an excerpt from the audiobook here.