BECOMING VISIBLE: An Illustrated History of Lesbian and Gay Life in Twentieth-Century America by Molly & Fred Wasserman McGarry

BECOMING VISIBLE: An Illustrated History of Lesbian and Gay Life in Twentieth-Century America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An expansion of a popular exhibit staged in 1994 at the Now York Public Library, this volume interweaves some 300 photographs and a brisk narrative to trace the emergence in modern times of a vocal, active, and increasingly well-defined gay community. While prints, postcards, and photographs from the century's early decades cast a fascinating light on the frequently embattled gay communities in urban areas (and especially in Manhattan), the book comes into its own when reaching the 1960s and the repercussions of the New York City Stonewall riots in 1969, an event signaling the willingness of the gay community to openly assert and defend its rights. McGarry and Wasserman, who co-curated the original exhibit, offer an insightful, swiftly paced narrative of the growing gay presence in political and cultural matters, making deft use of interviews and contemporary materials. They also, happily, give equal emphasis to the evolution of lesbian organizations and activists. Overall, a skilled blend of text and illustrations, and a lively, eminently useful summary of modern gay history.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 283pp
Publisher: New York Public Library/Penguin