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The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk
by Randy Shilts
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312019009, Paperback)When Randy Shilts's The Mayor of Castro Street appeared in 1982, the very idea of a gay political biography was brand-new. While biographies of literary and artistic figures (both living and dead) were a popular genre, there had been no openly gay political figure who merited a full-length book. Harvey Milk--a gay political organizer who became the first openly gay city supervisor in San Francisco and was then assassinated (along with liberal mayor George Moscone)--was the obvious choice for such a book. And Randy Shilts--a young reporter who had risen up through the gay press to become the first openly gay reporter with a gay "beat" in the American mainstream press--was the perfect person to write it. While his later works such as And the Band Played On and Conduct Unbecoming were based on hard-hitting, fact-driven reportage, Shilts's tone in The Mayor of Castro Street is softer, more focused on the narrative of Harvey Milk's political rise from running a small business on Castro Street, to organizing local gay men and lesbians around grass-roots issues, to winning an elected office. But in many ways this is also a forceful and engaging story of the gay rights movement in the second half of the 20th century. Thus, Shilts follows the growth of the Castro as a gay neighborhood and the growth of San Francisco's gay community from a ragtag collection of people who socialized and sexualized together into a vibrant and political force. --Michael Bronski
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:51 -0400)
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