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The Stonewall Reader: Edited by The New York Public Library

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  65 reviews
For the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, an anthology chronicling the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ rights in the 1960s and the activists who spearheaded it, with a foreword by Edmund White.

June 28, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for t
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Penguin Classics
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4.52  · 
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 ·  286 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was at school, I loved history as a subject. The orderly progression of dates and facts pointed to a linear and well-oiled world that moved forward smoothly and confidently. It was only much later in university that I began to be equipped intellectually to even to begin to question the tacit assumptions underlying the most basic tenets of historical fact.

Dates are important because they act as markers of important events; the biggest problem is that these events subsequently become unmoor
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, non-fiction, adult
Would definitely recommend the audiobook if you plan on reading this because you'll get to hear a lot of the interviews from their original recordings.

I'm glad I listened to this right before Pride month because let me tell you I am now ready to start a revolution. As someone who's read a lot of academic work about Stonewall in the past nothing in this book was particularly new or eye-opening for me, but it's always nice to hear directly from primary sources. If you're someone who's newer to qu
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book. If you only read one book this Pride season (Stonewall 50), let it be the amazing stories in The Stonewall Reader edited by Jason Baumann (NYPL). This is the real deal. Primary source material on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender heroes before, during, and after Stonewall. Each chapter is an essay or a piece of a chapter or interview. So even slow readers like me make progress quickly. Every voice is strong, powerful, and ...more
Jun 10, 2019 added it
Shelves: non-fic
No star rating because it's an anthology!

LGBTQ history is not something I was taught in school, and it’s only through reading THE STONEWALL READER that I’ve discovered my hunger for learning more about the movements that fought for the rights & freedoms I enjoy today.

Chronicling LGBTQ history faces many challenges - the HIV/AIDS crisis that decimated our community, copyright questions of gay & lesbian zines (the primary source of spreading knowledge & discussing queer identity before
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE STONEWALL READER is an anthology that draws from the New York City Public Library’s archive of personal accounts, interviews, and publications by and about folks involved with the LGBTQ movement before, during, and after the Stonewall riots.

This book small, but it’s packed with invaluable information and insights from folks on the front lines of gay liberation. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about queer history and still there were events, groups, and people I didn’t know about feat
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psrc
"As the strong women explained winning, the faggots were surprised and then excited. The faggots knew about surviving for they had always had and this was going to be just plain better. That made ass-kicking different. Getting your ass kicked and then winning elevated the entire enterprise of making revolution."

This book has made me sad, and this book has made me strong. It has made me sad to see that we are continuing the same conversations of racial inclusion and misogyny within the community.
Amanda Knox
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend. The fact that you're curious enough about this book to read the reviews means you should give it a go. The choice to frame the story in terms of before, during, and after, is immensely powerful. The editors do an outstanding job of including as many different LGBTQ voices and perspectives as possible. I don't love the use of oral history excerpts because I find that removing the story from the greater context of the interview severely weakens it. But on the whole, as someone wh ...more
Ashley Reading Stewardess
What a wonderful and educational book. It furthered my knowledge and importance of Stonewall. My full review is up on my blog at https://readingstewardess.wordpress.c...
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent rendering of American queer culture before, during and after Stonewall. This collection is not merely a catalogue of the riots (technicalities like "who threw the first brick?" are not given much attention here, thank God), but a breathing document that collects all the first loves, incarcerations, housing crises, brutalities, personal epiphanies and gender adventures that gave the movement radical desire and, ultimately, real power. Collected are the words of drag queens and lesbia ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fascinating and diverse collection of first-hand writings and interviews from the Stonewall era. I listened to the audio, which I recommend, especially since it comes with a PDF of who wrote and read each piece. The audio is great because it's got a lot of different narrators, and some of the pieces are archival audio interviews with Eric Marcus, so it's like having extra episodes of Making Gay History within the book. While many of the perspectives presented here are dated, tha ...more
Camille McCarthy
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly well-organized collection of writing from LGBTQ+ people before, during, and after Stonewall. I appreciated how the Stonewall Riots were described in a number of accounts because there were different points of view depending on who was participating, and how Stonewall was put into perspective with the before and after essays from a wide variety of people. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the Stonewall Riots and of the whole movement for LGBTQ+ rights in general. Each s ...more
Michael Williams
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: qrr
Whereas other histories of Stonewall focus on the personalities present at the uprising and the events of those nights themselves, this book dives deep into personal narratives of what it was like to be LGBTQIA+ in the years preceding Stonewall and immediate after Stonewall. Interviews, essays, narratives, speeches, and correspondence come together to provide a fascinating and compelling first-hand account of how life changed for these persons and the movement. An absolute must-read, and an incr ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Despite having long been interested in gender and sexuality, I know embarrassingly little about the beginnings of the movements for LGBTQ+ rights. So I am incredibly grateful for this collection of first-person accounts from the periods leading up to, during, and right after the Stonewall uprising. These voices are what we need more of in our traditional history books.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. especially Frank Kameny's letters to JFK and LBJ.
Rebecca Honeycutt
I'm going to save my reactions for the review, and it's going to be a very positive review, because this is an amazing audio experience.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An appropriate book to finish today, on the 50th anniversary. A great collection of readings for anyone looking to learn more about where the LGBTQ movement came from and how Stonewall influenced it.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of queer history, particularly when documented through personal narrative. So, really, how could I not love this book? It’s historical perfection.

The book is divided into 3 parts - before Stonewall, during Stonewall, and after Stonewall. I found the before and during portions to be the most captivating - how, despite the odds, queer folks were organizing and telling their stories even before the “hairpin drop heard around the world.” There’s just so much rich history there and so
Eric Spiegel
An important collection. Like most readers some pieces were stronger than others. It’s a great insight into the times before, during, and after Stonewall. I got a bit bored with it because the short pieces made it hard to engage with the topic. It also starts to get a little repetitive by the end. I think I’d prefer a deep dive into the subject and history over this.
Shivani Maurya
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a timely pick in June. Commemorating the 50 years of the Stonewall riots this year, the anthology caught my attention with multiple shares on bookish accounts and blogs. Compiled within are essays, interview excerpts, pamphlets and personal accounts of LGBTQ activists. This is not a dispassionate historical work. This is a personal dive into the LGBTQ history, recounted by those who lived through it. The content is categorized into three sections: Before, During and After Stonewall. And ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots/uprising, Jason Baumann, coordinator for the New York Public Library's LGBTQ Initiative, has created a spellbinding anthology that collects firsthand accounts from participants in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights. This battle did not begin with the three days of rioting outside the Stonewall Inn gay bar in 1969. But it did represent "an oceanic change in thinking," according to Edmund White's foreword. "People saw homosexuals no longer ...more
Andrea Stoeckel
“Experience the present as history [and] ourselves as history makers”
“The function of the homosexual is to make you uneasy”

Divided into three sections: Before,During and After Stonewall, this book condenses the time from the 50s to the 70s with primary source material found in the extant collection of The NYPL archives. From some of the first more quiet reports, to actual interviews with participants, to reporters’ records of the time it is, to me, a marvelous overview of a time historically ove
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Picked up a copy on the tail-end of Pride, wanting to get a better sense of the history of the gay rights movement. Split into three parts, Before/During/After the riots, it’s an anthology of excerpts, speeches and interviews from prominent figures.

I’ve noticed a few people say they’re glad they listened to the audiobook, because you got to hear a lot from the actual source material, which I think would add another excellent layer of narrative. Hearing it from the lips of those that experienced
Jul 20, 2019 added it
This collection of firsthand accounts of Stonewall- before, during, and after - felt thorough and carefully crafted. I got the sense in reading the selected pieces that the editors really wanted to be historically accurate and include as many perspectives as possible. I did, however, think it was heavy on the voices of gay men, although that could be a result of the era in which most of these firsthand accounts were collected. I also really struggled with the racist and sexist language, but agai ...more
Joe Miguez
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An informative Pride Month read, and an excellent primer on the history of LGBTQ rights in the years just before and after the 1969 Stonewall raid and immediate aftermath, as well as an entertaining history of those three days from multiple perspectives. As someone who's actively worked to protect and increase the rights of Austin's LGBTQ community, and who's spoken on numerous occasions about the development of federal and state legal protections for LGBTQ workers, I was humbled by how much I l ...more
Cassandra Gillig
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
i picked up this book thinking it would be a little empty--a sales point to capitalize off of the anniversary instead of a well thought out reader--but it is a nice small collection of primary sources and contextualizing work that does emphasize the police brutality/animosity behind the riots and the greater history of policy and policing that built up to Stonewall. the reader covers a lot of the problems within early lgbt orgs (infighting, racism, sexism, transphobia, etc.) and the broader conf ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is an anthology of writings by prominent queer activists set before, during, and after the stonewall riot. i thought it was a wonderful starter on queer history, i actually enjoyed the before and after sections more than the during. it was so interesting to learn about different queer groups and publications and their histories. i think it can feel easy to feel divorced from queer history because so much has changed in the past fifty years, but this book was a good reminder that life has no ...more
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black, Hispanic, white, lesbian, gay, male, female, non-binary, transgender, drag, American or British. It doesn't matter that this book focuses on a moment of change in America, you'll find something that resonates with you.
An anthology of interviews, first-person narrative, and reports split into 1) Before Stonewall, 2) At Stonewall, 3) After Stonewall. Told from the perspectives of the LGBT+ rainbow, ranging from the key historical figures, to the Latino women hiding razors in their wigs. It
Brian O'Connell
A fascinating, thorough, and eminently readable collection of documents relating to queer American history. The pieces tend to be on the shorter side, making them much more digestible, and are prefaced with insightful commentary from the editor. The introduction and foreword are wonderful, the documents are largely compelling (I found the interviews to be of particular interest), and the 50th anniversary edition produced by Penguin is just gorgeous. Not every piece was exactly to my taste, but t ...more
Donna Bijas
3.5 stars. While dates in terms of sexual orientations today, the lives of gay men and women in the late 1960s was hugely important. The importance of The Stonewall and all of its stories was the impetus to gay rights. Told through a series of articles, short stories and interviews, it was amazing how hard it was to love someone of the same sex. One takeaway of an interview made complete sense to me: “Movements should be intended to erase labels, whether Black, White, homosexual or heterosexual. ...more
Timmy/Thea Maeve Fenning
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Stonewall Reader by New York Public Library
5/5 Stars

This book is a compilation of essays from the LGBTQ community in there sections: before, during, and after Stonewall. These essays are compelling, emotional, full of struggle and full of love. Honestly, it made me so happy every time I sat down to read the stories of different LGBTQ activists.

If you are LGBTQ, this book is a must read, as it shows us the struggle that we've been through and the fight we need to continue to fight. Some of th
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“For some people the march was and will be one of the highest points in their lives. The courage that it took for some people to make those first steps from Sheridan Square into Sixth Avenue and out of the Village was the summoning up of a whole lifetime’s desire to finally come clear, to say the truth as it is, to expose themselves nakeder than any pinup boy in any flesh book, to show their heads as well as their bodies and to put their heads and souls where their bodies have been for so many years.” 0 likes
“One of the things I think about is if you were to take a history book and pull the bullshit out of it, find the truth, snatch out all the bullshit that’s in there, then you’re going to wind up with two or three pages.” 0 likes
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