MAKING HISTORY by Eric Marcus

MAKING HISTORY

The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945-1990
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Rich and often moving oral history by participants in the gay- rights movement. Marcus (The Male Couple's Guide to Living Together, 1988--not reviewed) speaks to people from street hustlers to ministers, beginning with those who remember the early post-WW II era, when being homosexual was a crime or, at best, considered a mental disorder. The testimonies of Hal Call, Martin Block, ``Lisa Ben,'' Barbara Gittings, and other founders and early members of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis--both launched in the 1950's as social-outreach, quasi-political organizations- -demonstrate the real dangers and frustrations of being gay in America. There are numerous anecdotes of infighting and power struggles, but also of the police and FBI harassment that gave rise to the militancy of the Gay Liberation Front in the 1960's and 70's and, currently, of ACT UP. There are compelling reminiscences of ``coming out''; of often sleazy and dangerous gay ``clubs''; of political activism and the 1969 Stonewall riot in Greenwich Village, which galvanized gays across the country; of the antigay backlash of the 1980's and 90's; of tragic losses from suicide and AIDS. But Marcus also records stories of empowerment and triumph, such as the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, and the appointment by then-governor Jerry Brown of gay attorney Herbert Donaldson to a California judgeship. At times shocking, but often enlightening and inspiring: oral history at its most potent and rewarding. (Twenty-five pages of b&w photos--not seen.)

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-016708-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992




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