Double Agents: Espionage, Literature,
and Liminal Citizens
by Erin G. Carlston
Columbia University Press. 332 pages, $29.50
THIS ENGAGING STUDY investigates the many associations that have been drawn, in both literary works and historical events, between gay men, Jews, and communists as potential traitors and spies. They are among the “invisible others,” as Carlston calls them, who have been considered throughout history, but especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, as “double agents,” pretending to be citizens but actually working as moles and subversives. Based upon their sexual orientation, religious and ethnic background, or political leanings, these groups are seen as not respecting national boundaries or secrets; therefore, they cannot be trusted with the rights of full citizenship. Often there is sense of urgency to identify members of these groups to prevent them from hurting the country.