LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement by Mark -- Ed. Thompson

LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement

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This handsomely produced large-format volume traces over 25 years of the gay and lesbian movement's history through the pages of its foremost newsmagazine, the Advocate. (Thompson is senior editor). This is an appropriate choice for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, generally considered the birth of the modern gay and lesbian movement in the US. Going year by year, this volume offers a survey of major political, cultural, social, and medical events in the history of the gay and lesbian movement, as reported in the Advocate since its inception in September 1967. Each year receives a single chapter, with an opening essay by a prominent gay or lesbian journalist or author, a chronology of key events of the year, and a selection of articles drawn from the magazine. The book takes readers from a time when homosexuality was treated as a pathology, and when gays and lesbians were for the most part unorganized and deep in the closet, to 1992, when a vocal gay and lesbian movement helped elect Bill Clinton president. The book is relentlessly honest about the divisions within the gay and lesbian communities (particularly concerning the growing AIDS crisis as it broke in the mid-1980s) and earnestly self-critical in its evaluation of the magazine's coverage of many issues (shortchanging lesbians and people of color in its earlier days). Many interviews are excerpted, with subjects as diverse as Jesse Jackson, Christopher Isherwood, Milton Berle, and Michel Foucault. Readers can also see the Advocate itself evolve from a spirited amateurism into a magazine of exceptionally high journalistic standards. A useful and relatively comprehensive guide to nearly 30 years of gay and lesbian history, but one wishes for fewer and longer excerpts. Also, the magazine's excellent cartoonists get somewhat short shrift.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: St. Martin's