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The Mayor of Castro Street : The Life and…
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The Mayor of Castro Street : The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

by Randy Shilts

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Living today in a world where I have openly gay friends and relatives, and where the national debate is on same sex marriage, it was amazing to me to see how far LGBT progress has come within my lifetime. Harvey Milk is portrayed as a man obsessively devoted to his cause, which in the broadest definition, was gay rights. Shilts portrays Milk as a man with the potential for greatness, hampered by his own weaknesses. Nonetheless, Harvey Milk probably had the potential to become a truly great politician (meaning that as a rare complment, not as an oxymoron) had is life not been cut short so tragically. ( )
  fingerpost | Aug 13, 2014 |
I didn't read the book until after I had watched the movie, and it was good to know a little bit more about the people in Milk's life--as well as the acknowledgement of some of Milk's less than admirable qualities.

It's hard to believe, but compared to the book, I think the movie ends on a high note. (I cried both times when watching it...) But this book goes further into the aftermath of San Francisco, and the atrocities that were once forgotten for homosexuals were reinstated.

At times Shilts' writing was confusing. He would describe a list of people and how they were related to each other (whose lover they were)...but he would switch from referring to the person by their first or last name--in mid sentence. Maybe this is a journalistic thing (? He did mention how much of journalist he was), but I found it confusing and at times terribly boring.

Overall, this is a good read, especially anyone who wants to get more information that was missing from the movie.

I think to what my friend told me after watching the movie for the first time, "It's amazing that, thirty years later, we are still fighting for the same rights." And it's true.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I didn't read the book until after I had watched the movie, and it was good to know a little bit more about the people in Milk's life--as well as the acknowledgement of some of Milk's less than admirable qualities.

It's hard to believe, but compared to the book, I think the movie ends on a high note. (I cried both times when watching it...) But this book goes further into the aftermath of San Francisco, and the atrocities that were once forgotten for homosexuals were reinstated.

At times Shilts' writing was confusing. He would describe a list of people and how they were related to each other (whose lover they were)...but he would switch from referring to the person by their first or last name--in mid sentence. Maybe this is a journalistic thing (? He did mention how much of journalist he was), but I found it confusing and at times terribly boring.

Overall, this is a good read, especially anyone who wants to get more information that was missing from the movie.

I think to what my friend told me after watching the movie for the first time, "It's amazing that, thirty years later, we are still fighting for the same rights." And it's true.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
4.5 stars. Oh so close to perfect.

Full of strong reporting, both of Milk's life, his time in politics and the city of San Francisco's rise to prominence in the LGBT community, Shilts does a wonderful job of balancing the man Harvey Milk and the icon he became to the movement. As much as I love Gus Van Sant's biopic (it's what spurred me to re-read this book) it doesn't quite capture how multi-faceted a man Milk was. He was media savvy, often hot headed and spontaneous and extremely passionate to the point of pig-headedness. He was also determined, caring and very funny. The movie also captures Harvey's sense of hope that things would get better, something that's particularly poignant in these days of Dan Savage's campaign. Shilts's book is a very accessible read and a must read for anyone interested in politics of LGBTQ movement. It is a very male-centric read though, something that was more evident to me upon re-reading. ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
Unfortunately, this is the only biography of Harvey Milk that I am aware of; Milk is important enough to the gay community that he deserves better. The book is worth reading to get a more complete picture of Milk than the documentary based on it (or the biopic) can provide, but both the limitations of when it was written (in the early 1980s, too soon after Milk's assassination to contextualize events or comment on his legacy) and Shilts' journalistic style that avoids citing sources even for general historical claims mean that it falls short of what Milk deserves. ( )
  lorax | Apr 28, 2011 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Randy Shiltsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schmid, BernhardÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vietor, MarcNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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