DOASKDOTELL BOOK REVIEW of Stranger Among Friends by David Mixner


Author (or Editor): Mixner, David .

Title: Stranger Among Friends

Fiction? Anthology?  

Publisher:  Bantam

Date: 1996

ISBN: ISBN 0-553-10073-4

Series Name:

Physical description: hardbound  396 pages

Relevance to doaskdotell: historical view, with personal participation, of gay-related political change

Review: David Mixner asserts, as do I in my own writings, that we (Mr. Mixner and President Clinton) are “children of special times.”  The baby boomers would indeed grow up in the first great era where individualism offered real private choice to the average individual.  Mixner and Clinton were born three days apart.


“But there was one difference. He could pursue his dreams while I felt I could not. Bill Clinton was born straight and I was born gay.”


I could call that sentence a total “leftist” copout, but indeed Mixner often provides an interesting, even compelling narrative of his times.  The first half of his book is often harrowing, at least in several places. The FBI actually set him up with a fake boy friend to spy on his anti-war activities—and boy was he traumatized when he found out.  (I actually thought that Hoover’s henchmen really didn’t go after “ordinary people,” but I must have been wrong.)  He and his lover would later be denied a joint business loan.  He would have to deal with his family.    


He gradually becomes a political operative and part of the inner circle, by the time of the Clinton Administration.  He becomes a “professional” in the political scene, while I did not (a more crucial difference).  And one wonders how important it is to belong to the establishment to become a person of influence.  I have wanted to test the waters (as had Bill Gates once), that one need not.  For his account of the gays-in-the-military debate late in the book seems a bit insipid.  Indeed, it reached a point of lockout, where the administration wouldn’t talk to him anymore.  Conventional adversarialism would not always work even in the halls of the Clinton administration, whatever (to recall The American Spectator) “his cheatin’ heart.”



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