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Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted—most notably at a bar called Stonewall in Greenwich Village—in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexualit
Hardcover, 443 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Harper
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  309 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
My actual knowledge of gay history is embarrassingly minimal, so I picked this up from the library. Hirshman's focus here is on the American gay rights movement and it's meteoric ascent in the last 60 years, not on American gay culture as a whole. She does an excellent job of examining how that history developed, going all the way back to the 1920's and 1930's and showing the development of the first informal, hopelessly ineffective gay organizations and groups decades before phrases like 'Stone ...more
Catherine Woodman
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author goes through a century of the history of the slow but steady change towards equal rights for gay men and women in the United States. The going was tough, after a remarkably good step forward during Prohibition (when the culture of doing things that were not condoned by the main stream became almost main stream by virtue of prevalence), but the book does not have a downbeat tone--quite the contrary, it is uplifting throughout.

The author does not waste any time defending the concept tha
James Evans
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m always a bit apprehensive on non-fiction books in the way that they get me very excited but then I’m like “hold on a minute, this might be super biased!”

Meaning that I actually enjoyed all this and I guess there is not a lot of “two sides” of this story. But it was fresh and informative in a easy and fun way, it never felt dull or like you were being fed plain facts.

Great book.
Frank Aaskov
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book which invites you on a journey of American gay civil rights through the last 80 years. It has a strict focus on civil liberties and rights and the official attitude towards the LGBT citizens such as the psychiatrists' classification of LGBT peopleas mentally ill, sodomy laws and funding for AIDS research. It did not focus on the change in public opinions, the change in the framing of LGBT people in the media or what caused this change, but instead focused on the social ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I found this book fascinating and well-written at first, but then I got lost in the swirling pool of names and dates. The author keeps jumping back and forth in time, which makes following the many threads confusing. That's probably unavoidable considering the large number of gay-rights leaders involved, but I just couldn't wade through this title. It would be good for someone determined to know the entire story, for people looking for detailed information on the gay-rights movement, and for peo ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Linda Hirshman's book Victory covers legal cases effecting LGBT rights and the culture surrounding them, covering the 1920s up to the passing of the 2012 Marriage Equality Act in New York State. For obvious reasons this work is outdated (with the 2015 passing of Federal Marriage Equality & 2020 passing of updated Anti Discrimination Laws), however I think even for 2012 Hirshman's turns of phrases and assertions are slightly outdated.
Hirshman makes the claim, early on in Victory, about the Civil
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I wavered between a 3-4 this whole book, but despite the clunkiness (and age—published 2012) of much of this book, I would still recommend it to those looking for a comprehensive history of how the LGBTQ+ community to see the struggle this group has somewhat miraculously persevered through.

The overall tale of the struggle for gay rights is inspiring, and I was surprised to realize how little of it I knew before reading this book. Hirshman’s examination of the interplay of activism, legislation,
Brynn Jackson
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I read up to Chapter 9, and found it hard to continue after that. The first third of the book I flipped through pretty quickly because the information, though specific and sometimes confusing with many acronyms and names, was interesting enough to for me to keep reading and be okay with grasping a general sense of the topic. But as I read more, that became hard for me. The book shifted from a pretty equal and interesting discussion about culture and legal issues, to a discussion mainly in legale ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queers
I bought this and then took a year to open it, because hey, its a 445 page non-fiction book. Still, it's worth reading. I was struck by my new understanding that within activist groups who supposedly all have the same agenda, there is discord on how to run the organization and create goals and achieve them. That's why activist groups form, work for a time, dissolve, and a new group takes over. It's a very frustrating path forward. Other interesting insights were that the gay white men were advoc ...more
Jeffrey Zimmer
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good historic overview pre-Obergfell

I first came across this book in a bookstore in DC’s Dupont Circle in 2017. Given the state of politics over the preceding year and a half, it seemed like a good time to read about a movement. Victory did a good job of giving an overview of the state of the LGBTQ movement in the 20th-21st centuries. It was certainly very gay white male heavy, but the book acknowledges this, and frequently references the fissures and exclusionary traits of the movement when i
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview history of gay history, specifically for the 20th century. Our country has already gone through some big changes since this book was published, but it helped give me an overview of Stonewall and the AIDS crisis. I would view this book as a general starting point, not an in-depth dive.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Extremely important testimony of a group of revolutionaries that have not gotten their due until very recently. I think it's incredibly important for any individual in the LGBTQ community to know their history. The only problem I had with this book is that it was written in a way that was kind of hard to get through. Overall it was a valiant attempt to do good.
Cassie Dishman
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. Well-researched and written. Gives an incredible look at the various legal battles (as well as cultural ones) fought by the LGBTQIA+ in the U.S. to get to where we are today. Or at least to where we were in 2011, as that’s where the book ends.

If you want a better understanding of some of the various figures mentioned in the book, I suggest listening to the Making Gay History podcast. This is an oral history podcast that publishes audio interviews with various people fro
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, sociology
Lots of legal writing, but I definitely learned a lot! I really appreciated the epilogue’s meditation on the implications of the title and the work that still has yet to be done to bring justice to the lgbtq community, especially trans folk.

I would recommend to any queer person wanting to learn more about the history of the fight for our rights.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge, June: Take Pride (Read a book written by an LGBTQIA author or that features an LGBTQIA character)
A bit of a dry read, but a good overview of the gay rights movement in the US
Laura Quitério
Found it was not very inclusive of trans people, especially on their contribution to the stonewall riot. Can't really erase trans' people struggle from the LGBT revolution. Also just using the word gay to say LGBT is just plain ignorant. And that's what this book does.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing is not always 100% clear (at least to a non-native, even if still fluent, speaker like me), and some statements are debatable, but overall an interesting read, detailed with the intertwining stories of all the main characters that have shaped the road to "victory"
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Hirshman's book is more thesis-driven, and less extensive and complete, than Faderman's The Gay Revolution. Hirshman focuses on how the LGBTQ community slowly, inch-by-inch, won recognition as full citizens of the liberal community.
Sarena Delgado
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's still more work to be done, but this book is more of a reminder of how far we've come and a poignant view of queer history beginning from the late 1880's to shortly before the book was published in 2012.
Glenn E
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative, Dry

I learned a great deal from this book and I expect the knowledge gained to be useful. I found the writing to be dry. I found myself rereading more than a few sentences.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
In this dark hour, a hopeful book to read. Ms. Hirschman believes a bit too strongly in the great man (and woman) version of history, but the chronology was well written and framed.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a good introduction to the last century of LGBTQ history, though Hirshman's writing style does little to alleviate the disorienting abundance of names/dates/locations.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
So I picked this up because it was the really pretty rainbow olive edition but I stayed for the amazing content and history that this book provides.
University of Chicago Magazine
Linda R. Hirshman, JD'69

A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted—most notably at a bar called Stonewall in Greenwich Village—in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexuality; psychiatric experts labeled people who were attracted to others of the same sex "crazy"; and
Bob H
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is timely: it wraps up just as the court cases, in California and elsewhere, are heading toward a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, the author seems to understand the case law up till now -- I would know, having the legal training to appreciate it -- and she explains it in straightforward prose. She understands the historic record as well, and has consulted the past leading LGBT historians: John D'Emilio, Randy Shilts, Alan Berube, George Chauncey.

Above all, this is a book of
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit confusing for me who didn't know all the court cases and history of the Gay Rights movement, I learned to tolerate any frustration and read on to get an idea of what was going on. The story of gay rights. begins in the late 1800s when people migrating to cities to work have options to live in rooming houses segregated by sex. While acts of sodomy have always of occurred more people discover they prefer to have sex and live their lives together though they are the same sex. The word homosex ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent, thorough history of the gay movement in the United States over the last century. Moves seamlessly from Supreme Court decisions to civil rights movements to community organizations to individual personalities. Already hefty, it is understandable that its scope had to be constrained--nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that it seems mostly (although certainly not entirely) about white men and others in the mainstream media view. It's not about the teenage punk band scene. Transgender ...more
Kevin Warman
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am very pleased I read this book. Hirshman covers over a century's worth of LGBQT+ history. She is particularly strong at highlighting important court cases. Indeed, I feel like I learned a lot on legal battles alone. However, equally compelling, I felt that Hirshman was able to tell a people's history. Lots of attention to quotes and journal entries. At times though, I got lost in detail. I felt like a new name was introduced pretty much every single paragraph.

The political science major in
Chris Leuchtenburg
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An amazing saga, tragic, complex, often heroic. Sometimes the thicket of tiny, fractious political organizations are reminiscent of Ten Days That Shook the World, difficult to follow but still interesting. The comparison to the civil rights and feminist movements is well nuanced, but sometimes pushed a bit too hard. The sometimes dense political, philosophical, sociological, psychological narrative is relieved by blunt statements such as in a discussion of the Romer court decision, “...the law i ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, glbt, lawyers
This is a wonderful, engaging history of the gay civil rights movement, and gave me quite a lot to think about. Hirshman talks quite persuasively about how the gay civil rights movement came from much further behind than either the black civil rights movement or the feminist movement but managed to keep going after either of the others ran out of steam. Her essay "What Stonewall Got Right that Occupy Got Wrong," available online, is also worth reading.

I had to laugh when coming to the end of th
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