Results of the National Book Award in the year 1981.
Based on hitherto unexamined sources: interviews with ex-slaves, diaries and accounts by former slaveholders, this “rich and admirably written book” (Eugene Genovese, The New York Times Book Review) aims to show how, during the Civil War and after Emancipation, blacks and whites interacted in ways that dramatized not only their mutual dependency, but the ambiguities and tensions that had always been latent in “the peculiar institution.”
John Boswell’s highly acclaimed study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the Christian West challenges received opinion and our own preconceptions about the Church’s past relationship to its gay members, among whom were priests, bishops and even canonized saints. The historical breadth of Boswell’s research (from the Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted (legal, literary, theological, artistic, and scientific) make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history. The product of ten years of research and analysis of records in a dozen languages, this book opens up a new area of historical inquiry and helps elucidate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.