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Trade Paper
ISBN 978-1-57344-200-8
5.5 x 8.5, 200 pages
25 B&W Photographs

Biography & Memoir
Gender Studies

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I Am My Own Wife

The True Story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf

The story that inspired the hit Broadway play, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and two Tony Awards

As a child in prewar Berlin, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf wanted nothing more than to try on the pretty taffetta dresses she saw in shop windows, and to dust and oil her furniture collection to a shine. She would have made a perfect hausfrau. The only problem was that Charlotte was a boy.

Hailed by Der Spiegel as speaking to the fate of a whole generation of German homosexuals, here is the amazing story of a mild-mannered transvestite who triumphed over a violent childhood and the brutalities of both the Nazis and Communists to carve out a dignified life as an open cross-dresser in East Berlin.

"Nothing short of breathtaking. A terrific story." —The New York Times

"Charlotte's been smacked and pawed for decades by a gallery of rogues and brutes and she's resisted. In drag. It is not the transgendered soul that is perverse, but the situation in which it lives." —The Village Voice

"As a child, Lothar Berfelde loved to wear an apron and polish porcelain. Given his druthers, he would have chosen to live quietly in the 19th century, perhaps as a housekeeper in a well-appointed home near Berlin. Instead his life took a bumpier course." —TIME Magazine

"Von Mahlsdorf's book is a 'Wife'-time achievement." —New York Newsday

CHARLOTTE VON MAHLSDORF lived all her life in Berlin. She died in 2000, age 74.

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