When gays had to be closeted, ships were the only places where homosexual men could not only be out but also camp. And on some liners to the sun and the New World, queens and butches had a ball. They sashayed and minced their way across the world's oceans.
Never before has the story been told of the masses. These are the thousands of queer seafarers, mainly stewards, who sometimes even outnumbered the straight men in the catering departments of ships that were household names and the pride of the British fleet. Hello Sailor! uniquely shows what it was like to be queer at sea at a time when land meant straightness.
"What this fascinating book is really about is not 'gay life at sea' in general, but the gay ghettos on many liners and cruiseships during the fifties and sixties."
George Melly, The Mail on Sunday
"…this path breaking book tells the hidden story of passion and liberation at sea. This is a vital addition to the understanding of gay and sea history."
"…candid confessions cause the narrative to leap into life."
Independent on Sunday.
"…a fascinating account."
"…Hello Sailor! transcends its niche as a piece of gay history and, instead, becomes something that has resonances for all readers, whether gay, straight or something in between."
'…an eminently readable, often amusing and original book…'
Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 41, No 1