Author / Record Producer
 
      Winner of the 45th Annual ASCAP
      Deems Taylor Award [2013]
 
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   The Fan Who Knew Too Much     
The Secret Closets of American Culture
 
“My kinda brain food.”
— James Wolcott
 
“Nothing new in the last year gave me as much pure reading pleasure as
 pages in this book. Heilbut ranges over the culture like a madman, but
 with a fierce sanity in his eye, debunking myths and erecting new ones.
 I finished The Fan Who Knew Too Much wondering how, without it, I’d
 ever thought I understood a thing about America in the 20th century.”
— John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead
 
“Take in his witty, passionate prose, his uncanny blend of scholarship
 and reportage, his analytic brilliance and his joie de vivre. You will be
 stirred and delighted.”
— Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of On Michael Jackson
 
“Leapt off the shelf and refused to be put down . . . Everything I know about
 gospel music I’ve learned from Anthony Heilbut’s compilations and writings;
 thanks to his crazy compendium The Fan Who Knew Too Much, he has now,
 also, taught me everything I know about radio soap operas, Aretha Franklin,
 and homosexuality in the black church.”
— Lorin Stein, The Paris Review Full Review   [PDF]
 
“Anthony Heilbut has been a guide and a mentor to me. I know of no one
 who has the love and depth of knowledge of this extraordinary author.”
— Paul Simon
 
“Majestic . . .The Fan Who Knew Too Much is one of the best collections of essays
 to appear in many years. It is written with depth, clarity, sensitivity, wit and lyricism.
 It is Heilbut at his masterful and literary best . . . A friend once told me that some-
 times it takes an atheist to do God’s work. If that is true, then that is precisely
 what we have in Anthony Heilbut, the fan who perhaps knows a little too much
 but has found a beautiful way to tell us all about it.”
— Wallace Best, Chair of African-American Studies, Princeton University
The Huffington PostFull Article   [PDF]
 
“The intellectual command and all-over-the-place critical nimbleness on display in
 these essays are dazzling — they range from a minibiography of Aretha Franklin
 to a reflection on the high-pitched male voice in both pop and classical music to
 a celebration of the Austrian novelist Joseph Roth — but it is a nearly 100-page
 piece driven by ethical and political urgency that anchors the collection.’”
— Eric Banks, The Chicago TribuneFull Review   [PDF]
 
“At the book’s heart, alongside the title essay, is the extended meditation on
 Aretha Franklin . . . the most incisive and illuminating portrait yet drawn . . .
 as well as a soul-searching expose on the outing of gays in the black church.
 These essays allow Mr. Heilbut to deploy a confessional mode that suits his
 elegy for a dying American art . . . [a] most profound study.”
— Eddie Dean, The Wall Street Journal Full Review   [PDF]
 
“[Heilbut] comes at his subjects quietly and humanely, with no agenda
 other than to understand . . . There aren’t many fans like Heilbut, with his
 cataloguing ardor, his teeming frame of reference and his thirst for experience
  . . . Without breaking a sweat, he swings from the plight of modern academia
 to the enduring values of the daytime radio serial. He drops in on old favorites
 such as Einstein and Hannah Arendt. Throwing them all into a single volume,
 he gives us the thread to bind them.
— Louis Bayard, The Washington PostFull Review   [PDF]
 
“Surprising and deeply moving . . . Rousing and impassioned . . .
 Heilbut’s various obsessions are weaved through this deeply personal collection,
 giving it the charismatic stamp of a single man and a single mind.”
— Ian Crouch, The Boston Globe Full Review   [PDF]
 
“Heilbut gives gospel music back its gayness . . . Throughout the book, across art
 forms, he argues that the heart is with those who have been turned out; that the
 center of a community and an art are in fact not at the center, but at the margin.
  . . . Heilbut’s generous book demonstrates that no fan can know too much,
 or love too much.”
— Noah Berlatsky, Slate Full Review   [PDF]
 
“He knows the score and tells it in a style by turns tragic, bawdy, transporting,
 and balefully beautiful . . . With The Fan Heilbut turns his haunted fascination
 into a meditative reckoning with the struggle to ‘get over’ for all those who are
 exiled among their own people.”
— Douglas Harrison, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewFull Review   [PDF]
 
“Elegant and powerful . . . gloriously detailed . . . Heilbut’s fandom and sharp
 critical eye allow for an enthusiastic but well-balanced analysis. Shining a light
 on the outcast and downtrodden and telling the truth, Heilbut embodies the
 gospel he never believed in.”
— Rashod D. Ollison, Lambda LiteraryFull Review   [PDF]
 
“Nimble, expansive and conveyed with delightful panache . . . Heilbut’s work has
 long been distinguished by his gift for taking on polysemous topics and spinning
 the reader through them, gracefully and compellingly — teasing out all sorts of
 unexpected associations along the way. It’s a pleasure to read intellectual history
 where the frame of reference is so unabashedly broad and the weave of ideas
 so rewarding to follow . . . It’s an irresistible ride and full of discoveries.”
— George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of Silence Full Review   [PDF]
 
“Marvelously zesty, erotically frank, assumption-blasting essays . . . take us
 on a guided tour unlike any other through the spirals of the psyche.”
— Donna Seaman, BooklistFull Review   [PDF]
 
“The Fan Who Knew Too Much feels like a late Beethoven string quartet,
 drawing on a rich career’s obsessions and paying tribute to sources of
 inspiration.”
— Jimmy So, The Daily BeastFull Review   [PDF]
 
“A brilliant, one-of-a-kind and immensely challenging book by a brilliant,
 one-of-a-kind, immensely challenging American writer.”
— Jeff Simon, The Buffalo NewsFull Review   [PDF]
 
“Spectacular.”
— Scott Rudin
 
 
— See Books for More Reviews —
 
 
 
Now in Paperback

Purchase
 
 
 
B E S T   o f   2 0 1 2
 
Yahoo! News
Holiday Gift Guide:
What do you give a book lover?
December 15, 2012

 
New England NPR
Jazz (Gift) Books
December 19, 2012

 
The Buffalo News
Literary Highlights of 2012
December 20, 2012

 
 
I N T E R V I E W S
 
Broadcast
 
PBS
American Masters:
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
February 22, 2013

 
Sirius
Michelangelo Signorile Show
August 20, 2012

 
Sirius
Bob Edwards Show
August 20, 2012

 
WCCO
Mischke Til Midnight
July 23, 2012

 
WNYC
The Leonard Lopate Show
July 9, 2012

 
WBAI
Cat Radio Cafe
June 25, 2012

 
BBC
The World Today
June 4, 2012

 
Published
 
Washington Blade
Life-long ‘Fan’
November 15, 2012

 
Gay City News
Gay Wind Beneath Gospel’s Wings
August 29, 2012

 
The Record —
Music News from NPR

Gospel’s Secrets Come into the Light
August 6, 2012

 
Religion Dispatches
The Gospel Church and the
Ruining of Gay Lives
July 30, 2012