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LET THE FAGGOTS BURN: The UpStairs Lounge Fire (edition 2011)

by Johnny Townsend

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112820,536 (4.17)None
Member:elisa.rolle
Title:LET THE FAGGOTS BURN: The UpStairs Lounge Fire
Authors:Johnny Townsend
Info:Booklocker.com, Inc. (2011), Paperback, 342 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:m/m, ebook, booklocker.com

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Let the Faggots Burn: The UpStairs Lounge Fire by Johnny Townsend

American History (1) arson (1) booklocker.com (1) ebook (1) fire (1) gay (1) glbt (1) history (1) LGBTQ (1) m/m (1) non-fiction (1)
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I remember reading about the Upstairs Lounge Fire when I worked in the reference department at East Baton Rouge Parish Library and I discovered a file of newspaper articles about it. I am so glad that this author has kept this story alive, and I hope that he's right that other works are going to be coming out regarding the fire.

I found this book somewhat difficult to read, not only because of the subject matter, but also because there's not really a narrative thread apparent throughout the book. Each chapter tells a different character's, or sometimes couple's, story, but I think it would have been more effective to actually have a narrative about the fire. While this book does include that, it comes late in the process, and you've been introduced to so many different characters by that point, it can get lost. I do appreciate the author's afterword as well, in which he acknowledges his shortcomings as a historian, but I do think he did a good job. I am grateful that this book does honor the victims of this tragic event, and I hope that the documentary film mentioned by the author does come out. ( )
  LSUTiger | Jan 7, 2013 |
Recently I talked about this book with another reader, and she told me, “I have to read this book, Elisa, haven’t I?” and the meaning of that was we were aware how devastating the experience would have been, but it was right, and the only thing we could do for the victims, to read this book.

This is a forgotten tragedy, for many reason I suppose; first and foremost, because it regarded the gay community at the beginning of the ‘70s, a period when society preferred to ignore rather than acknowledge. Secondly it involved ordinary people, no famous name, no heroes: but for the fathers, mothers, sons and friends who were waiting these men at home, they were more than heroes, they were a piece of their life. Lastly, and that is probably a very strong affirmation I’m doing, 10 years later a bigger tragedy, the AIDS plague, would have stolen the scene, and this “small” tragedy, involving 32 people, in comparison to a plague killing millions, was nothing. But again, it was not nothing to who lost beloved ones, and the aim of the author is to give the chance to whom wants to remember them, to have a place where to find their stories, told through the voices of who knew them.

And while this is a non fiction work, the author is a skilled fiction author, and so he managed to respect the realism of the story, while at the same time recreating their lives and voices. It’s probably thank to the skills of the author that this piece of non fiction goes well beyond a simple recording of events.

In June 2013 it will be 40 years from when this tragedy happened, and Let the Faggots Burn took away those 40 years, letting the reader experiencing everything like it was yesterday.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1614344531/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
1 vote elisa.rolle | Dec 8, 2012 |
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