The Improbables

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Gay Lives by Robert AldrichGay Lives
by Robert Aldrich
Thames & Hudson. 304 pages, $29.95

SOME BOOKS are meant to be read cover-to-cover: Madame Bovary, War and Peace, Fifty Shades of Grey. Others may be dipped into at any point, since there is no continuous narrative, only—as in the case at hand—self-contained accounts that take a few pages each. Gay Lives, by Robert Aldrich, a professor of European History at the University of Sydney, belongs to the latter category.

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