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The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, The Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations
“Heilbut packs more ideas into a paragraph than most writers do in a chapter,
or even a whole book.”
          —Andy Humm, Gay City News
“A must-read . . . The Fan Who Knew Too Much is a book of revelations,
and an essential document of our times.”
          —Alexander Varty, Full Review   [PDF]
“The timing of Mr. Heilbut’s book, and the intensity of his argument, have thrust it from the dusty corners of arts criticism into the heat and light of the political arena.”
          —Samuel G. Freedman, The New York Times Article   [PDF]
“Comes out firing . . . at some major targets, both secular and theological.
The main theme: much of what people think they know about cultural phenomena
is inaccurate, incomplete, and in many cases misguided and twisted . . . You’ll seldom read a more exacting discussion. Anthony Heilbut’s impressive knowledge — and his stunning ability to relay it in an appealing manner — makes The Fan
Who Knew Too Much
a delight.”
          —Ron Wynn, Full Review   [PDF]
“Heilbut’s construction — that to know black America, one must know the nature
of the relationship between black gays and the black church — seems like
hyperbole at first glance. But his point becomes clearer and more forceful
by the word . . . moving into an area that has up-to-the-minute implications.”
          —Mark Reynolds, PopMatters Full Review   [PDF]
“Heilbut knows his stuff . . . in a fascinating chapter . . . [he] argues persuasively
that even before Aretha walked into a studio to record with Wexler, she had already begun to change the game for women, African-Americans and music culture.”
          —Greg Kot, The Chicago Tribune Full Review   [PDF]
“Heilbut goes where most are wary to tread . . . He writes with full permission from those whose tragic tales he tells. No one, whether white, black, church, organization, writer, or political figure, who has disrespected the ‘sissies and bulldaggers’ is spared Heilbut’s ire. It is a masterful piece of writing, ranking among the author’s best work. I admire and applaud his courage to tackle a subject that most of us have been far too craven to cover.
Reading The Fan Who Knew Too Much is a revelatory and stirring experience. It is an elegy for, and ode to, the émigrés and exiles — ‘those who are heavy laden,’ to quote a gospel lyric — who despite their suffering contributed significantly to the richness of American culture. De grandes souffrances vient du grand art.
          —Bob Marovich, The Black Gospel Blog Full Review   [PDF]
                                          more . . .

   “Fascinating, Interesting, a Joy.”
          — Michelangelo Signorile,
                  Sirius Radio

     amazing new essay collection”
          — Michael Schaub, NPR

“A delightful surprise,          
start to finish.”                  
          — Tommy Mischke, WCCO

  “A champion book . . . smart
   and endlessly playful.”        
          — R.J. Smith, NPR
“A Masterpiece!”                
          — Janet Coleman, WBAI

Thomas Mann: Eros And Literature
Winner — The Randy Shilts Prize for Gay Non-Fiction
“Definitive . . . This is the book to make you want to read [Mann] again.”
          — Louis Bayard, The Washington Post
“In a book written with great energy and verve . . . Heilbut does more than other biographers to suggest the emotional atmosphere in which Mann sat down every morning and wrote about the mystery of human sexuality and the forms it took.”
          — Gordon A. Craig, The New York Review of Books
“An extraordinary way to look at the work of a writer who influenced so many of us. The portrait of Mann after fifty is electric.”
          — Harold Brodkey
“Brilliantly perceptive about Mann’s books . . . Heilbut loves Mann’s compulsions, his masks and self-absorption . . . He relishes the clues Mann leaves, and he unearths a good number of new clues that escape the notice of the other biographers.”
          — Colm Tóibín, The London Review of Books
“Tóibín has obviously pored over the existing biographies, most of them quite dull, but it was, perhaps, Anthony Heilbut’s groundbreaking life of Mann that inspired this novel [The Magician ]. Heilbut focused intensely on Mann’s sexuality as reflected in his life and work.”
          — Jay Parini, The New York Times     PDF
“Novelists who write about historical events and real people often note their departures from strict fact, if any. Tóibín has not followed that practice in The Magician, but this reviewer can attest that Tóibín’s take on Mann jibes with that of Anthony Heilbut in his astute Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature, which leads off Tóibín’s list of the secondary sources he found ‘helpful.’”
          — Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post
                                          more . . .

Exiled In Paradise: German Refugee Artists and Intellectuals in America
from the 1930s to the Present
            (Second, Revised Edition)
Exiled in Paradise, a social history [Heilbut] wrote more than 35 years ago,
is still the most immersive account of the German-speaking exiles who came
to this country between 1933 and 1941 and of their outsize influence on
the culture they found here.”
          — Donna Rifkind, Wall Street Journal Full Review   [PDF]
“From one page to the next, the book transcends its stated purpose of providing
a link between the history of the German-Jewish immigrants and their staggering cultural achievements to acquire the dimensions of that mysterious reality which even a Bresson cannot hope to define: a work of art.”
          — Marcel Ophuls, American Film Magazine
“The story of these refugees has finally found its singular and single voice; it is that of Anthony Heilbut, himself the son of exiles . . . His book turns into something more than a panorama about foreigners. It is a way of revealing to Americans themselves what their country really is like.”
          — Ariel Dorfman, The Washington Post
              Also cited in Dorfman’s New York Review essay [Dec 3, 2020]
             Songs of Loss and Reinvention
“Anthony Heilbut has exercised impressive scholarship, and even a touch of poetry, to get to the heart of this diaspora.”
          — Time
                                          more . . .


The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times
(Fourth Edition, Revised and Expanded)
“It is a very beautiful book, with love and precision, no pity — a little like a gospel song . . . I didn’t know that anybody knew that much about it, or cared that much,
or could be so tough and lucid.”
          — James Baldwin
“Anthony Heilbut’s wonderful The Gospel Sound still great after 40-plus years.”
          — Noah Berlatsky, Urban Faith
“One of the most important books ever written about any aspect of American music.”
          — Henry Pleasants
“Via Anthony Heilbut’s book The Gospel Sound (1971), Eric Weisbard — author of Songbooks: The Literature of American Popular Music — writes about how gospel music has been the blues, in a way, for gay men and lesbians.”
          — Dwight Garner, NY Times
“The most complete history of gospel music . . . It reads like a novel with its cast of heroes, both famous and unsung.”
          — Francois-Xavier Moule, Jazz Hot
“One of the 100 Greatest Works of Non-Fiction of the Twentieth Century”
          — Counter-Punch
                                          more . . .