The gay revolution The story of the struggle

Lillian Faderman

Book - 2015

A chronicle of the modern struggle for gay, lesbian and transgender rights draws on interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists and members of the LGBT community to document the cause's struggles since the 1950s.

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2nd Floor 306.766/Faderman Due Jun 15, 2023
New York : Simon & Schuster 2015.
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Physical Description
xx, 794 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Lillian Faderman (-)
Review by Choice Review

Faderman has spent her career writing about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, and in the process, she has won an astounding six Lambda Literary Awards. Her latest book is a tour de force, exploring the LGBT struggle for civil rights in the US, from the creation of the Mattachine Society in 1950 all the way to the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Weighing in at nearly 800 pages, this rich reference book provides brief descriptions of every major triumph, setback, organization, and personality in this long struggle, all told in an engaging way by this gifted storyteller. Sadly, though, the heft of the book would likely prove overwhelming to undergraduates. And while the topics for hundreds of research papers lie within its pages, the volume's usefulness for that purpose is diminished by the fact that Faderman seldom references secondary literature in her citations. While The Gay Revolution is an indispensable addition to any academic research library, undergraduates will likely be better served by Marc Stein's Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (2012). Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students, comprehensive collections, and up. --Susan Ferentinos, independent scholar

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. Review by New York Times Review

KILLING A KING: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, by Dan Ephron. (Norton, $16.95.) The 1995 murder of Rabin, the Israeli prime minister, also dealt a fatal blow to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with which he was identified. Ephron, a former Jerusalem bureau chief for Newsweek, details the violent episode and its lasting influence on the moribund prospects for peace today. THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING: A Novella and Three Stories, by Colum McCann. (Random House, $16.) The stories in this collection often unfold in agonizing scenarios, with glimmers of empathy throughout. The title novella centers on an elderly New York judge before he is fatally assaulted; the police investigation of his death raises questions about the limits of surveillance and perspective in unearthing the truth. THE GAY REVOLUTION: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman. (Simon & Schuster, $20.) The author, a noted scholar of lesbian history, offers a balanced biography of the gay rights movement from the 1950s through the present day: protests in the 1960s; the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness; the AIDS epidemic; and the push for marriage equality. THE DUST THAT FALLS FROM DREAMS, by Louis de Bernières. (Vintage, $16.95.) This novel follows a wealthy English family, the McCoshes, and their neighbors starting in the early 20 th century. As their lives are upended by World War I, the story explores "timeless conflicts of love and loyalty, conflicts that can be rendered even more consequential when they intersect with large-scale political and historical events," as our reviewer, Randy Boyagoda, wrote. AMERICA'S BANK: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve, by Roger Lowenstein. (Penguin, $18.) The United States had no effective central banking system until the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913. Lowenstein tells the story of the politicians and public figures who secured the bill's passage through compromise and brilliant politicking, and of the disputes and crises endangering it. INFINITE HOME, by Kathleen Alcott. (Riverhead, $16.) The misfit tenants including an agoraphobe and an embittered comedian - of a deteriorating Brooklyn brownstone come together after their home is imperiled by their aging landlady's son. The threat leads this makeshift family across the country, from a California commune to middle-American motel rooms to a natural wonder in the Smoky Mountains, as they offer one another love and support. WITCHES OF AMERICA, by Alex Mar. (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.) Pairing a journalistic inquiry with a personal spiritual quest, the author reports on the country's various occult societies. As our reviewer, Merritt Tierce, put it: "If anything connects the various communities and traditions Mar writes about, it's this primacy of the individual soul and choice, which is, of course, the holy fabric of Americanness."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [November 20, 2016] Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* A Lambda Literary and Stonewall Book Award-winning author, scholar, and retired college professor, Faderman has crafted an epic yet remarkably intimate work that belongs among the most definitive civil rights titles, LGBTQ-specific or otherwise. Based on more than 150 interviews and the author's exhaustive research, The Gay Revolution begins by recalling the government's gay witch hunts of the 1950s and spans the next six and a half decades of the ongoing struggle for legal and societal equality. All of the prominent landmarks of the gay rights movement (the Stonewall riots; Anita Bryant's Save Our Children political coalition; Don't Ask, Don't Tell) are covered thoroughly, but Faderman's writing conveys such fresh passion that readers will feel like they are experiencing these history-altering moments in real time. However, it's the lesser-told stories such as the rise and eventual decline of the early gay rights group, the Mattachine Society, and its founder, Harry Hay, who went on to start the Radical Faeries movement that bring voice to the brave, trailblazing heroes who risked so much to help chip away at the hostile and pervasive intolerance that once singularly defined the homosexual American experience. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This book is destined to be one of the lasting contributions to the literature of the gay rights movement.--Keech, Chris Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Faderman (Naked in the Promised Land), a scholar of lesbian history and literature, renders the slow transformation of culture into a sweeping narrative of the American struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights. She digs deep into media and legislative archives to construct a comprehensive narrative, beginning in the 1950s with the scapegoating of homosexuals under "vag-lewds" law and the first formulation of homosexuals as a minority group, and continuing to the current and recent legal fights around the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), hate crime legislation, and marriage equality. Faderman depicts the struggle as a conflict between "suits and streets," offering balanced coverage of both meticulous lobbying from the government, military, and professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association, and the rapid changes wrought by historical radicalizations such as the Stonewall riots, the Harvey Milk riots, and the aggressive medical activism of ACT UP. First-person accounts from over 100 interviews conducted as original research for the book punctuate this extraordinary story. Faderman's immense cultural history will give today's LGBTQ activists both a profound appreciation of their forebears and the motivation to carry the struggle forward. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

One of queer history's founding scholars, Faderman (Gay L.A.), has written a sweeping and moving narrative that chronicles the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) citizenship rights from World War II to the turn of the milennium. In ten thematic, roughly chronological sections, the author offers readers familiar names and events masterfully woven to show how a scrappy postwar homophile movement grew into the politically conscious and politically diverse community we have today. Across nearly 70 years of political organizing, an abiding tension emerges between assimilationists and sexual radicals: those who want to be seen as "normal" and those who argue that "gay is good" and culturally distinct from a heteronormative way of life. As Faderm an shows, this intramovement tension remains evident today. If this work has a weakness it is a by-product of Faderman's laudable ambition: big-picture narratives inevitably shortchange individual stories. Nonurban, nonpoliticized queer experiences also continue to be underexplored. Still, this volume will deservedly become a standard in the field. VERDICT Well suited to undergraduate courses in LGBTQ history, this book is highly recommended for readers interested in the 20th-century politics of sexual identity and the history of social justice activism. [See Prepub Alert, 3/9/15.]-Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Massachusetts Historical Soc. Lib., Boston © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The history of the struggle for gay rights in the United States. In this superbly researched book, acclaimed LGBT scholar Faderman (My Mother's Wars, 2013, etc.) examines the roots of the sociopolitical movement that, for the last 60 years, has worked to achieve justice for LGBT people. The author begins in the 1950s, when "the government, the law, the church, [and] the psychiatric profession all colluded to tell homosexuals they were guilty just by being who they were." Yet a brave few individualse.g., Harry Hay, Phyllis Lyon, and Del Martintook action by creating organizations intended to offer safe alternatives to gay and lesbian bars. In these groups, homosexuals could offer each other support and seek the respect they desired from mainstream heterosexual society. As the organizations grew, they assimilated ideas from such political catalysts as the burgeoning civil rights movement. By 1969, the Stonewall riots revealed a far more radicalized community, contingents of which created political groups that actively agitated for civil rights rather than simple respect. Mainstream society responded with "family values" movements led by such icons as Anita Bryant. Her anti-gay zeal actually worked to unite the LGBT community and help its members push for political change at the local and then, into the 1980s and beyond, national levels. Faderman documents the tragedy of AIDS and how that epidemic also brought together gays and lesbians and created a still greater sense of solidarity among homosexuals, who, by the 1990s, had begun to press for workplace protections as well as recognition of gay and lesbian families. The author concludes with the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, specifically its provision that marriage be defined in heterosexual terms only. Throughout this engaging and extremely well-documented book, Faderman clearly shows that for the LGBT community, equality is not a completed goal. Yet the ideal of fully integrated citizenship is closer to becoming reality than ever before. Inspiring and necessary reading for all Americans interested in social justice. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.