Ann Aldrich flings a provocative assertion at her readers in 1955 when she opens her groundbreaking account of lesbian life in New York City by saying this book is the “result of fifteen years of participation in society as a female homosexual.”
After the release of We Walk Alone, Aldrich became both a heroine and a scapegoat in some of the period’s most contentious public debates over what exactly “lesbian culture” was. Her non-fiction pulp literally transformed the landscape overnight.
Part Kinsey-esque portraits of real people, part you-are-there reports on the scene in bars and offices and at clubs and house parties, this is a unique “cultural artifact,” a compelling composite of an alienated yet amazingly self-aware community. Ann Aldrich is both observer and commentator, writing investigative journalism in the mode of Doris Lessing. As Stephanie Foote explains in her afterword, the combination produces “as rich and conflicted a look at the formation of lesbian urban culture as that of any contemporary queer historian.”