Lucian Truscott IV was born into a military family and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1969. In 1968, Truscott and other cadets challenged the required attendance at chapel services which resulted in a 1972 the Supreme Court decision ending mandatory chapel attendance at all military academies.
Truscott was then reassigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, where he wrote a magazine article about heroin addiction among enlisted soldiers and another about what he felt was an illegal court martial. After he was threatened with being sent to Vietnam, he resigned his commission, receiving a “general discharge under other than honorable conditions.”
He is a member of the Monticello Association, for descendants of slave-owning Thomas Jefferson, who was Truscott’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. The association owns the graveyard at Jefferson’s home, Monticello. During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998, he invited descendants of Sally Hemings to the Jefferson family reunion in 2000. The Hemings descendants had not been allowed to join the association, or to be buried in its graveyard.
In 1969, Truscott joined The Village Voice as a staff writer. One of his first pieces describes the riot at the Stonewall Inn that began on June 27, 1969.
Truscott’s first novel is the gay-themed Dress Grey (1978) about a West Point cadet who was found dead. It was a bestseller, appearing for 13 weeks on The New York Times Hardcover Bestseller list and seven weeks on its Paperback List.
It was made into a very good two-part television film in 1986, starring Hal Holbrook and Alec Baldwin; Gore Vidal wrote the screenplay.