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The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and…

The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (edition 2008)

by Randy Shilts

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457None22,630 (4.14)14
Title:The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk
Authors:Randy Shilts
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2008), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Non-Fiction, Read, Your library
Tags:Non-Fiction, Biography, Read, Read 2012, Own, LGBTQ

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The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts


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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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 |
It was fine. There can't be spoilers. It managed to be dull when you wouldn't think it could be. It isn't particularly well written & is confusing in places, I'm sure one could stop & work out what happened but it didn't seem worth it. The political analysis might be a bit naive. The People's Temple connection to SF politics is interesting but again not a deep analysis. There isn't much to say. It isn't very lively, but I said that. It is one of those funny cases where one reads along (I don't know if there is a newer edition with a new epilogue) and then it ends and the epilogue goes through 1982 or 1981, I guess. And no sense of AIDS coming. What a funny world we live in.
  franoscar | Feb 26, 2010 |
ESCELLANT readon this remarkable man. ( )
  toy28205 | May 25, 2009 |
There is something about Shilts writing...it's so methodical...the writing of a true newspaperman...he doesn't miss anything and in this book you learn all about Harvey Milk including what a jerk he could be. The guy had his issues but he did bring gay rights to the forefront when it was needed....I don't recall if it was Harvey who promoted me to come out...but I know that he helped many make that leap that is so important in order to be supported in the wider community of man. ( )
1 vote latinobookgeek | Sep 10, 2007 |
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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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