Not without flaws, but an illuminating, worthy addition to the scholarship.

THE STONEWALL RIOTS

A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY

A compendium of primary sources on the historic uprising for LGBTQ liberation.

The Stonewall riots of 1969 are infamous, not only for their electrifying impact on the American LGBTQ movement, but also for their long-contested memory: “who can, who does, and who should lay claim to them”? Using more than 200 documents, editor Stein (History/San Francisco State Univ.; Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, 2012, etc.) contextualizes the New York City rebellion of transgender and gay bar patrons against a homophobic police raid. Framed in three subdivided parts, each section contains extended excerpts of newspaper articles, fliers, court decisions, and other accounts. Together, they create a mosaic of the cultural and political realities before, during, and after the riots. The editor helpfully provides source descriptions of each section—e.g., “published originally in homophile magazines”—as well as a perceptive introduction that encourages readers to “think carefully and critically about my editorial work.” Significantly, Stein acknowledges that many of his media sources offer “limited discussion” of African-American LGBTQ experiences in their reporting, and he notes that gay rights activists were deeply indebted to black liberation movements. For example, LGBTQ people employed the “direct action tactics” of African-American organizers, “including demonstrations, sit-ins, and riots,” and popular pre-Stonewall slogans “were adaptations or appropriations of ‘Black is Beautiful’ and ‘Black Power.’ ” Stein is less successful in his interpretation of transgender history. For example, when examining police records from the first night of the Stonewall riots, Stein determines that one woman and five men were arrested, “judging by the names.” For many trans people, legal names do not provide meaningful clues to gender. On the whole, the book reflects both the brilliance and contradictions of a multifaceted history. Though people of color are notably minimized in historical records, Stein’s reflective curation is an important contribution to understanding what Stonewall was and what it represents. History students are most likely to enjoy this volume, which is arranged like a primary source textbook.

Not without flaws, but an illuminating, worthy addition to the scholarship.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4798-1685-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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