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July 16, 1997

A Natural History of Homosexuality

Author Affiliations

University of Vermont Burlington

JAMA. 1997;278(3):251-252. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550030091045

No longer the crime that dare not speak its name, homosexuality has become a hot topic. An impressive and diverse range of research programs is currently focused on the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. With all this activity, a nonspecialist looking for a summary of the issues surrounding homosexuality might have trouble finding a starting point. To fill this gap, Frances Mark Mondimore, MD, has written an often well researched and warmly presented book. Unfortunately, the book fails to deliver on his promise of a thorough introduction to the topic.

Mondimore organizes the material into four parts. First, historical accounts of like-gendered eroticism are surveyed. For those who haven't (and probably wouldn't) read the source materials, Mondimore conveys the basic information effectively. He convincingly describes the importance of this research for understanding our culture's present attitude toward homosexuality.

In the strongest part of the book, Mondimore