"[A] remarkable story ... Readers are engaged in the life of an early-twentieth-century transgender man and the struggles and pitfalls that came with accessing affirming legal documentation and medical care ... Especially since where materials regarding Forbes' life are lacking, Playdon thoroughly contextualizes his story with transgender history throughout the twentieth century, ultimately creating a vital historical reference."
"A fascinating look into the changing landscape of trans rights in the United Kingdom. Recommended for readers interested in the evolution of modern trans rights."
“Playdon marshals a wealth of scientific and legal detail and paints a sympathetic yet evenhanded portrait of Forbes ... The result is a valuable contribution to trans history.”
"Zoë Playdon shines dazzling light on the case of an early trans pioneer, a man whose dignity and courage remain an inspiration to a new generation of trans people, and those that love us. Abundant with compassion, clarity, and meticulous research, Ms. Playdon ensures that Ewan Forbes’s case will remain hidden no more. Urgent, generous, and wise.”
—Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Good Boy
"A detective story featuring bitter family conflicts, secret legal battles, and a deep dive into the history of sexology, The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes is a compulsive page turner as well as an enlightening, ultimately sobering, journey through the most intricate corners of LGBT history. Moving from baronial estates in Scotland to the permissive world of 1960s swinging London, Zoë Playdon deftly weaves together multiple narratives of transgender history to brilliantly place Ewen Forbes’s story and struggle in historical context. A gripping and important book."
—Michael Bronski, Professor of the Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University
"Zoë Playdon has written a formidable book which is unputdownable. The more I read the more I wanted to know... A breathtaking story, magnificently researched and told and which lays bare how rights are fought for, [how they] are always under attack, and the human suffering discrimination perpetuates. I was moved, fired with anger at the injustice and thankful that Zoë had dedicated years of determination to unravel and reveal this heartrending story. It is a wake-up call; until we are all equal, none of us are."
—Lord Cashman, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, actor, writer, politician
"In this meticulous, fascinating and empathetic account, Zoë Playdon takes the reader within a series of established institutions -- from biological science and medical practice to courts and aristocracy -- as they wrestled with often novel questions of gender identity before they became constrained by the ideological framework of today's political debates."
—Sasha Issenberg, author of The Engagement: America's Quarter Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage