This book is about two great poets of the Romantic period, Percy Bysshe  Shelley and Lord Byron, and a small circle of men around them.  John  Lauritsen makes a convincing case that all of them were gay, albeit  bisexually gay.  However, he declines to put a label on them, since he  believes that there is a homoerotic component in the psyche of virtually  all males.  One needn't agree with him on that point.  What Lauritsen does  do is examine the writings of these men for expressions of homoeroticism  (or male love, his preferred term).  Sometimes these expressions of male  love are subtle, or need to be de-coded, which he as a gay scholar is  well qualified to do.  Other times, the expression of one man's love for  another almost leaps off the page.  This is amazing, because during the  entire lifetimes of Shelley and Byron, men and even adolescent boys in England were hanged for making love to each other.  It took courage on  the part of these men to even hint at love of males for males.
    A hero of this story is Edward John Trelawny — big, butch and beautiful
who is portrayed on the cover.  Trelawny's declarations of love for an  older man, when he himself was a teenager, are virile and passionate.  Trelawny fell in love with Shelley at first sight, and this love lasted  for the rest of his long life (he died at the age of 89).  This is an elegantly written and produced book.  Lauritsen, writing with  the art that conceals scholarship, tells his story concisely, but with  enough detail to be convincing and exciting.  After The Shelley-Byron  Men, the Romantic poets will never be the same.

Amazon review by Kevin Jones