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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,049 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Portrays six ordinary people--four gay men and two lesbians--concentrating on their roles in the July 1969 Stonewall Riots in which a group of homosexuals rebelled against police harassment. By the author of Hidden from History. National ad/promo. Tour.
Paperback, 330 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Dutton (first published 1993)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  1,049 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Scholarly but accessible, Stonewall surveys the state of gay life in America during the sixties and early seventies. The work tells the story of the time’s seismic cultural and political shifts through the biographies of six influential gay, lesbian, and trans persons: Craig Rodwell, Yvonne Flowers, Karla Jay, Forest Gunnison, Sylvia Rivera, and Jim Fouratt. Drawing upon extensive archival research, Duberman details the small victories of the conservative homophile movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s, ...more
Theresa Alan
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“After the second night of rioting, it had become clear to many that a major upheaval, a kind of seismic shift, was at hand.”

I’d been wanting to brush up on the history of Stonewall (June 27, 1969) because I’d forgotten most of what I learned in school. In 1999, on the 30th anniversary of Stonewall, it had been my first time in New York City. I’d met up with an ex-boyfriend, who could be described as moderate to conservative. We were just wandering around the city with no plans when we stumbled
Duberman is a master at weaving together stories of individual lives to write history. He chose six disparate individuals - four men and two women - to tell the story of the development of the Gay Rights Movement. Stonewall refers to the riots that occurred from June 27-July 2, 1969 in and around the Stonewall bar in Greenwich Village. Duberman's history reveals that despite the fact that Stonewall is known as the event that started the modern Gay Rights movement, this is a great over simplifica ...more
Russell Sanders
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My copy of Martin Duberman’s Stonewall has sat on my bookshelf unread for almost twenty years. What prompted me to finally read it is two-fold: I realized that I knew almost nothing about the Stonewall Riots, and as a gay man, I should know; my next novel will end with this very important piece of gay history, so I needed to read this book as research. I was not disappointed and wish I’d read it years ago. Duberman’s book is an exhaustive history of that era of burgeoning gay rights. He cloaks h ...more
Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If there's any one thing that has the potential to evoke instant violence from individuals, it's the idea of homosexuality. Today, nothing seems to polarize so many people. Anyone growing up has heard "fag" as a basic insult in the grammer of teenagers and beyond, and I really suspect there's a lot of people who are in the closet in some way that know that if they came out at all of even being remotely attracted to members of the same sex (however you want to define that), then they would becom
Less a portrait of the Stonewall riots and more a history of the blooming gay rights movement of the sixties, Stonewall is solid in its presentation of the cultural atmosphere and the stories of six individuals deeply involved in activist activity. The events of Stonewall itself are given their own section in the book, although the conflicts and passions that set the stage are delved into and analyzed much more thoroughly, which is actually the most intriguing part of the read. The surrounding h ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel bad not giving a book about the defining mythic and historic moment of 20th century gay American history five stars, but integrity is important. As a queer man Stonewall is something that I cannot ignore. Even though I didn't grow up during a time when being gay could get you institutionalized, I did grow up in a town and social environment where being gay just wasn't good. It was better to be closeted and be a good christian boy who only centered your desire on the opposite sex. I won't ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book follows six diverse lives up to and through the Stonewall riots and the first Gay Freedom Day March. (Only later did the marches turn into "Pride" marches, a shift that bespeaks an egregious lack of taste and decorum, IMHO.) The descriptions of the subjects pre-Stonewall lives were reasonably interesting (except a few big chunks about organizing and infighting in the Homophile Movement that bored me to tears), but the best part was the riot itself. Oh, what I'd give to have seen the que ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend gave me this book a few years ago, and I was in no hurry to read it, as the movie that is based on the book was notorious for downplaying the role of people of color. The movie, from what I could see in the trailer (and from what friends and reviews said as well), insists that the main character, a fictional white cis guy, be the catalyst for change, which isn't supported by any story of Stonewall that I've heard. That being said, I'm very glad I read it.

Stonewall doesn't actually occu
Debbie Notkin
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was updated in 1993, which means the update is a quarter of a century ago. Nonetheless, it stands as an excellent overview of the world of American (mostly urban) gay people just before, during, and after the Stonewall uprising. Duberman focuses on six specific individuals who took activist roles during that period, including three white men (Foster Gunnison, a rather stodgy, conservative "be respectable and win them over" character; Craig Rodwell, fairly far along the fire-breathing r ...more
Craig Werner
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sixties, history, gay
While the title might suggest this book is about the June 1969 riot that kicked the LGBT movement into a much higher gear, it's actually a much broader and deeper study of gay life in the 1960s. Building his story around six semi-representative individuals--he's careful to underline that they're evocative rather than inclusive--Duberman traces the complicated relationships between different parts of the "homophile" movement of the early 60s--the Matachine societies play key role. There was a maj ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Duberman’s classic work of nonfiction on the Stonewall Inn riots and the early years of the gay rights movement is now available as an e-book. I had heard of the Stonewall riots but never really learned anything about it so I thought I’d give this book a go. I am so glad I did. I had NO IDEA just how tough it had been for gay people in the 20th century. (Hi. I live in a bubble, but I’m trying, okay?) I mean, the stigma and shame and abuse, my God, how did they have the courage to wake up every m ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
A compelling history of the gay rights movement leading up to the riots at the Stonewall Inn and ending at the first Gay Pride marches in LA and NYC. Duberman follows the lives of six activists - from a tough queen raised on the streets to a conservative intellectual to reluctantly-involved black lesbian affected with Lupus to a militant, boisterous cohort of Abbie Hoffman. He offers an in-depth chronicle of the challenges of organizing, the repercussions of "coming out" and doesn't shy away fro ...more
Jalen NeSmith
Disappointing. The early days of the gay rights movement are understandably difficult to research due to their lack of coordination, but the disorder, miscommunication, and intrigue spill over into Duberman's writing. Despite the impressive amount of research, the writing is often speculative and gossipy. If he has so many facts, why stoop so low as silly rumors, such as the baseless assertion that Jim Fouratt slept with Jim Morrison, or that drugs addled Marsha P. Johnson's brain? I laughed out ...more
Read this for a course I took.

While I do believe Stonewall is one of the most important events in LGBTQ+ history, I believe there are much better books ont eh subject than this one.

There is very little on Stonewall itself, it mostly discusses the lives of the "characters" before the events, and what they did after the events of that night.

And only one of the "characters" was even there at Stonewall that night and two of them joined in later, the other 3 were not at the event or the days that fol
Good stuff. Sylvia Rivera's bits especially interesting. Funny how the trans lib movement has reclaimed the Stonewall riots as an action mostly by gender deviants and outlaws to the extent that some actually make Sylvia out to be a trans woman. I'm not sure if her identification changed over time, but at least when she was interviewed for this book she talks about taking a stab at hormones and deciding to go off them because she was more of a genderfuck (my words) than a woman.

Got it from the us
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the author's approach - taking a handful of disparate gay right's crusaders and following them from their various childhoods through Stonewall and beyond. Although I've read about this period before it always fascinates me to see how far gay-lib has come in 50 years (granted, we had a long long way to go). My only criticism here is that the section on the actual Event seems a bit short. While focusing on a few individuals seems to open up the rest of the book, it provides too narrow a fo ...more
Greg Chandler
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duberman does a good job of personalizing the struggle for Gay Rights. The book focuses on the lives of a half-dozen or so individuals. It follows their early lives and the discovery of their gender identities and sexual orientations. It presents their stories without casting judgement or psychoanalyzing their sexual development. They are presented as people, treated with respect.

Each grows up to have some involvement in the Gay Rights movement, if not directly in the riots at the Stonewall Inn.

I nearly quit this book after the first two sections. They are awful: the writing is poor and slow-moving and includes absurd minute details such as what grades these individuals got in school (literally... the actual grades).

However, if you’re interested in learning about this time in gay history, you will gain something by reading on. After these two sections, it gets into actually interesting facts about the evolution of the gay civil rights (or homophile) movement.

Sadly, the final secti
Shannon Wyss
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting book on the years leading up to, as well as the year after, Stonewall. The book focuses on six individuals, including the inimitable Sylvia Rivera, although it also contains stories from others. Most chapters also contain some background on the overall political situation going on at the time.

I knew the overarching history of the homophile movement but gained much more detail from Duberman's book. And it was incredibly touching and powerful to read the accounts of the actua
April A.  Taylor
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-researched, solid account of not only the Stonewall Riots but of the entire '60s gay rights movement. I enjoyed the mixture of scholarly and narrative writing. The author wove a fascinating thread that connected the individual lives of several people into the overall movement before the riots. We then learn what role these people played in the riots, along with how this critical moment in LGBTQ+ history helped set things in motion for future legal gains and social acceptance.

Everyone who
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
Stonewall was fascinating to read. It was my textbook in a class about the homophile movement, and it's definitely the most interesting textbook I've ever gotten to read. Not only does it offer a historical record of some of the events in the 60's, but it gives a personal account of what it was like. On top of being different gender or sexual orientations, you see the implications of being a women, or a person of colour, being in different class systems, having different experiences, and more. I ...more
Faith Huff
I read the recent re-release of this book and found it incredibly engaging. The story of Stonewall was told through the lives of six real people who were there. Each of their stories were told from the beginnings of their lives and walks us into their interaction in the original Stonewall riots and the Christopher Street Liberation Day march. The people chosen to tell this story are varied and incorporate various races and aspects of LGBT life. I learned a lot about the original homophile movem ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This update of Duberman's 1993 Stonewall is remarkable in scope and interesting in concept by its story told through the lives of six individuals. One gets a true sense of where the struggle for LGBT rights was leading up to the riots and beyond. By focusing on the lives of individuals, one meets the leaders in the various organizations that lead up to the days of rioting as well as the response after.
I was sorry to see the book ends with the first commemorative march in 1970. I believe that th
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
It's a pioneering work that I was much more impressed with when I read it in 1993 or 1994. Duberman's "unconventional narrative strategy" of telling the story of Stonewall through six interwoven biographies gives us wonderful insights and details about these LGBTQ folks, but the big narrative of Stonewall and its aftermath is covered far better in David Carter's later book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution.
Julie Corbett
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, books-i-own
Easily one of the most comprehensive books regarding a part of US history. The author has done a phenomenal job with accumulating all of the detail and then assembling it into an easy to read format.
Whether you identify as LGBTQ or not, this is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about Stonewall. But also, to understand the significance and the struggle for a group of people wanting to be granted the same rights as everyone else.
I highly reccomend this book!
Derek Lynch
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was brilliant! The history of Stonewall is so important to the LGBTQ community & this book was the first real in depth analysis I’ve ever seen of those riots. It inspired me to want to dig deeper in LGBTQ history & to focus on revolutionaries like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. I wanted more focus on the actual days of the riot & less on the organizational histories & biographies of only a few of the activists that were tangentially involved.
Krystle Johnson
Excellent history of before stonewall, during, and after. It is smart to tell the story through multiple people’s experiences but it was a few too many people and way too much history to keep my attention for long. I’ve been on and off reading it for 2 months because you have to be in the mood to basically read a history book.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A detailed look at the Stonewall riots, within it's historical context of the gay rights movement prior to Stonewall-through the lives of six activists. All from varying backgrounds, these six lives tell the story of the gay rights movement, warts and all prior to and immediately after Stonewall. A must for history buffs, biographies and a total must for LGBTQI folks.
Patrick Frownfelter
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Awesome and inspiring. Reads like a thriller novel, building up to the title historical event. Incredibly important work.
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Martin Bauml Duberman is a scholar and playwright. He graduated from Yale in 1952 and earned a Ph.D. in American history from Harvard in 1957. Duberman left his tenured position at Princeton University in 1971 to become Distinguished Professor of History at Lehman College in New York City.
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