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BY Advocate.com Editors
May 31 2013 7:00 PM ET
8. BOOK: Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns
John Horne Burns was the author of one of the great World War II novels, but he's been long forgotten, relegated to the past by his tragic early demise. In Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns, David Margolick carves out a breathtaking picture of the brilliant prodigy, who grew up as a New England outsider and served in North Africa and Italy during World War II, his best-selling classic The Gallery. But for all the praise that first novel and subsequent works earned him, he couldn't deal with the unexpected fame and the alcoholism and depression that plagued him until his death.
Margolick draws readers into the discussion of how important Burns, the first writer to truly show homosexuals openly and sympathetically, was to the future of gay writing and activism. This book, centering on the author that Gore Vidal considered a rival and whose work Ernest Hemingway praised as "wonderfully written," is less a biography than a portrait, completing a picture of Burns to the fullest extent with each new word.
Previously published works by Margolick, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, include Strange Fruit, Beyond Glory, and Elizabeth and Hazel. Dreadful is published by Other Press.
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