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Making Gay History: The Half Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights
From the Boy Scouts and the U.S. military to marriage and adoption, the gay civil rights movement has exploded on the national stage.Eric Marcus takes us back in time to the earliest days of that struggle in a newly revised and thoroughly updated edition of Making History, originally published in 1992.Using the heart-felt stories of more than 60 people, he carries us through the compelling five-decade battle that has changed the fabric of American society.
The rich tapestry that emerges from Making Gay History includes the inspiring voices of teenagers and grandparents, journalists and housewives, from the little known Dr. Evelyn Hooker and Morty Manford to former Vice President Al Gore, Ellen DeGeneres, and Abigail Van Buren. Together, these many stories bear witness to a time of astonishing change as gay and lesbian people have struggled against prejudice and fought for equal rights under the law.
||June 15, 2002|
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4 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Excellent work, essential reading for anyone looking for a rough guide to gay history.May 31, 2006
By Maxwell S. Dubler
This is an excellent collection of first-person narratives of gay life in America from 1945 to the present. The people interviewed cover everything from the Mattachine society to PFLAG to the GSA movement. Extremely useful for getting a broad look at the LGBT rights movement in America.
I personally prefer "Making History" by the same author because the interviews appear all at once. This edition has events organized by date, which can be a little hard to follow.
An important, readable, modern history of LGBT peopleJun 11, 2013
By J. Fried
What makes this history so important to me is that it is based on interviews of those who were directly involved with the events that have shaped our current understanding of ourselves and our political position within the US. Reading this book was both an emotionally moving and consciousness raising experience as i listened to multiple voices present their perspective on their efforts to bring about positive change for LGBT people.
There is an earlier version of the book which took a slightly different approach in its ordering of the interviews. The newest release of the book covers the new millennia and presents the interviews in the order of the events they discuss. I feel the new ordering is one of the things that helps makes this book more readable than the original, so, make certain you get the latest, updated, version.
This book and The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government.(Book review): An article from: The Historian are the two books i recommend to friends who want to learn about LGBT history. The two books are complements in that The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government.(Book review): An article from: The Historian covers in detail one period of LGBT history that has been all but lost, yet, it was important in driving the events presented in Making Gay History far more than the Stonewall incident.
A history of the varied manifestations of the LGBT movementJan 01, 2013
By Bruce Stores
"Teacher and writer in Mexico since 1995. Author of "The Isthmus."
What is different about Mr. Marcus' book that separates it from the vast numbers of other LGBT collectables?
For one thing, Mr. Marcus allows the characters in his work to speak for themselves. The author does remarkably little editing and most of that is setting the scene for each contributor. In all, over sixty individuals speak of their contributions to LGBT history. As Mr. Marcus puts it, "I'm offering just a taste as told through the stories and recollections of more than sixty people -- from high-profile leaders to the little-known and largely forgotten men and woman who contributed in ways big and small." This was enough to let me know that much of the material would be unfamiliar terrain, rather than previously read historical scenes told in a different way. But would it hold my interest? Mr. Marcus dispelled such concern in his introduction where he wrote,
"Here and there I lowered my bucket into the rich, swirling waters of the gay rights movement. And what I found was astounding, heartbreaking, thrilling and ultimately inspiring."
For the most part, his analysis of his work proved correct. "Making History" is a fascinating book that I found difficult to put down.
He begins with ". . . [T]he years immediately following World War II [which] proved to be an especially fertile time for those gay men and women who dared to imagine that something could be done to improve the challenging conditions under which many of them lived." His first story is the contribution of Dr. Evelyn Hooker.
A young gay man slowly worked his way into a close friendship with his teacher, Ms. Hooker. In time he was able to talk the psychologist into researching and writing what became a landmark study of gay men. The main purpose of the study was to show that gay men are normal, not sick.
Then there was Lisa Ben (her name an acronym for lesbian) who published the first known newsletter for lesbians in 1947.
But Mr. Marcus does not write solely about LGBT political activists. He penetrates the entertainment field, the literary field, AIDS activists, religious workers, social workers, a librarian, and others. The reader ends up with a rich diversity of LGBT personalities who made their mark on sexual minority history. Some of the names include such diverse persons as: Ellen DeGeneres, Al Gore, Kay Tobin Lahusen, Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby), Randy Shilts (author of "And the Band Played On"), Bishop John Shelby Spong, Ray "Sylvia Lee" Rivera (cross-dresser of Stonewall fame), and many others.
On the whole, I enjoyed "Making Gay History". I heartily recommend it to all who have a wider interest in all the varied manifestations of the background of the LGBT movement.
(Bruce Stores is the author of "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE: Its Encounter With Lesbian/Gay America" and "THE ISTHMUS: Stories of Mexico's Past, 1495 to 1995")
1 of 3 found the following review helpful:
good overview of history since 1960sNov 13, 2010
This is an enjoyable read. It covers the 1960s through 2000 and presents the information in an oral history format. Lots of good information, but definitely gay-centric (as you can tell from the title). Lesbians are discussed a fair bit, but bisexuals are trans people are nearly absent.