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‘Secret City,’ an Epic Narrative History of the Closet in the Capitol

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nytimes.com

SECRET CITYThe Hidden History of Gay WashingtonBy James Kirchick826 pages. Henry Holt. $38. “Secret City,” by James Kirchick, is a sprawling and enthralling history of how the gay subculture in Washington, D.C., long in shadow, emerged into the klieg lights.

But it’s also a whodunit to rival anything by Agatha Christie. How did so many promising men in government wind up dead before their time, by such variously violent means?

John C. Montgomery, a Princeton graduate and the Finnish desk chief at the State Department: hanged in the nude by his bathrobe belt from a third-floor banister.

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