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Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade

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Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade

Overall customer rating: 5.000
Keith  M

Secret Historian is an enthralling eye opener

by Keith M on Jul 17, 2011

Justin Spring's book, Secret Historian The life and times of SAMUEL STEWARD, professor, tattoo artist, and sexual renegade, is a fascinating biography of a man who started life in small town Ohio; raised by his maiden aunts after his brilliant mother died and his alcohol and drug addicted father could no longer care for him and his younger sister. Discerning his gay sexual identity as a young adolescent, Steward was a voracious reader and highly intelligent, accepting his homosexuality early on and recreating himself several times throughout his life. He was a confidante of many famous and interesting people, developing long term friendships with Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Thornton Wilder, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and many others. He was very well educated and was an English Professor for several years at DePaul University. He became an alcoholic for several years and recovered. He was an artist that painted and sculpted; an author who wrote non-fiction and fiction including a series of humorous pulp homoerotic pornographic novels and short stories under the Pseudonym Phil Andros. Steward also had a long career as the exceptionally talented tattoo artist, ?Phil Sparrow,? in Chicago, Milwaukee then finally in Oakland from 1964 to 1970 where he became the official Tattooist, ?Doc Sparrow,? to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club due to his exquisite work and the proximity of his Anchor Tattoo Shop on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, California to the Hell?s Angels Motorcycle Club world headquarters that was located about a five minute chopper ride away! One of the reasons Dr. Alfred Kinsey found Steward so fascinating was Sam?s penchant for keeping extensive records of all his sexual encounters on 3? by 5? index cards in what he called his, ?STUD FILE,? that included over seven hundred individual lover?s entries for a total exceeding 4,700 intimate encounters! These meticulously detailed accounts included names, dates, frequency and running totals of individual trysts and even clippings of his conquest?s pubic hair! However, although this book does go into great detail about Steward?s interesting and varied sexual experiences; that is not its entire focus. It is an engrossing and detailed study of a man that led a long and incredibly varied and interesting life; although most of his life he was highly discreet and,?in the closet?? due to the nature of our country?s puritanical and repressed views. He lived the majority of his life when most of American society considered male homosexuality to be sexual aberration or, ?inversion,? and was punishable by long jail sentences in many states. I am just scratching the surface of Justin Spring?s amazingly well researched and interestingly written account of one of America?s most underrated and heretofore little known artists, educators, authors and uninhibited gay sexual pioneers. I highly recommend Secret Historian for all mature, intelligent and open-minded readers and I intend to read all of Mr. Springs other books as soon as I can.

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