AN UNSPEAKABLE CRIME

THE PROSECUTION AND PERSECUTION OF LEO FRANK

Thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan, all dressed up like a society girl in Atlanta on Saturday morning, April 26, 1913, never made it to the Confederate Memorial Day parade. Her body was found in the basement of the National Pencil Company. She had been badly beaten and apparently raped. At first, the police “did what they always do in Georgia—arrested a Negro,” as reporter Harold Ross later wrote, but as the case became a media frenzy, politically ambitious Hugh Dorsey, the prosecutor, played on popular prejudice and went after Leo Frank, a Jewish, college-educated Yankee businessman and the pencil company’s superintendent. Alphin does a creditable job of unraveling the mess the trial became, a tangle of “lies heaped on lies,” and the rightly ambiguous title leaves readers wondering about two unspeakable crimes—the murder and the public lynching of Leo Frank. Each chapter opens with a dramatic quotation, and period photographs and reprints of newspaper stories contribute to a thorough accounting of a city’s judicial system at its worst. Fans of legal thrillers and courtroom dramas will find this outstanding. (list of major figures, timeline, glossary, further reading, author’s note, bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8225-8944-0

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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