Larry Kramer's long-awaited book The American People, a history of homosexuality in America, will delve into the gay lives of presidents Washington and Lincoln, according to The New York Times. In an interview Kramer, 75, reveals that the book, coming in at 4,000 pages, became a more ambitious project than he initially anticipated when he began writing it 30 years ago. The book will be published in two volumes with the first due in spring 2012.
"The history of homosexuality in America starts even before America did, but I didn't know that when I started writing," Kramer says. "It became a chronological story, and I just wrote and wrote and wrote ... It became this wild adventure of learning so much about how long we've been here and what we've accomplished and all the pain that we have been through. Of course it culminates with AIDS, and in a sense it's really a history of AIDS and where the plague came from. We've just discovered that the AIDS virus has been in monkeys for 32,000 years. I don't go back that far, though."
Kramer also says the the book cover many historical figures. "It obviously deals with Abraham Lincoln being gay, which is pretty accepted by now, but it deals with a lot of other people being gay, like George Washington," he says.
Kramer is cofounder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and the protest group ACT UP. His landmark play The Normal Heart, about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, will have a staged reading in New York on October 18. A film adaptation is scheduled for next year, to be directed by Ryan Murphy and to star Mark Ruffalo.
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