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The Stonewall Reader

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  892 ratings  ·  151 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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Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Stonewall Reader Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
New York Public Library (Author), Edmund White (Author), full cast (Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher)
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
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
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
on the whole, i really enjoyed reading first person accounts of it all, but some left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth tbqh

e.g. franklin kameny's letters in which he claimed gay folk had it worse than black folk in a country that was still vastly segregated (yeah, i see the value of admitting that the lgbt rights movement was not free of racism, but it felt a little odd not to even comment on it, and especially following choosing audre lorde to open the book, who talks about the intersection of
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 the interne
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
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anthologies are really hard to rate because there are so many different authors & texts, but ultimately am landing on 5 stars because I found that this book taught me a lot. I appreciated the diverse perspectives, from Black folks & other people of color in the movement, from Drag Queens, & Trans folks, and both gay men & lesbians. They made a clear effort to avoid continuing the whitewashing of the Stonewall Riots & early aughts of queer liberation. They didn’t shy away from the problematic nat ...more
I deem much of the argument if it should be called the Stonewall Uprising or Stonewall Riot of rather trivial importance. It does not disregard the fact that it is a revolution. And no revolution suddenly arise out of nowhere; each brews for a long time. Once it culminates it does not stop or waver. For when a minority is continuously harassed, oppressed, berated, and discriminated it only takes a time until a type of retaliation and rebellion thrive. There is a collective demand for respect, th ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I broke my 2019 book-buying ban for, and it was so very worth it. This anthology of interviews and memoir excerpts explores the LGBT rights movement in America before, during, and after the Stonewall uprising. It showcases many different voices, and I loved reading the words and thoughts of movement leaders who previously had been not much more than names to me. It made me realize how little LGBT history I had been exposed to, as it helped turn these names into fully fleshed-out ...more
Casey the Reader
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
Jim Angstadt
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The Stonewall Reader: Edited by The New York Public Library
New York Public Library, Edmund White (Foreword)

This book describes some of the events that happened before, during, and after the 1969 Stonewall riots in NYC.

After a helpful foreword and introduction, there are articles by 12 separate authors that describe the attitudes and practices of the general public and of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Queer, (LGBTQ) communities that existed before the riots. There are 14 articles describing th
Brandon Scott
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-tbr-lgbtq

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the excerpts that were included in this collection. This is not an introductory text to the LGBTQ+ community; it’s more so an intermediate level text because of a lot of outdated terms and ideologies that are addressed within the pages. Without a basic knowledge in LGBTQ+ identities and relations, I’m afraid that some people would mistake those beliefs in the text to mirror how the community is currently, because that’s not true. There were a lot of words used in
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really great collection of essays and interviews from before, during, and after the stonewall uprising. I need to get more books about LGBTQ+ history.
Rachel Morrison
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt-bookclub
I'm not normally one for history books, but I'm a sucker for anything LGBT! I was pleased to see representation of different sexualities, genders, and races represented in the accounts.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
Genuinely sad to have finished this one. I love the concept here—there are so many different stories people tell about what really happened at the Stonewall Riots, so the NYPL has collected a bunch of excerpts from different writers and interviews to formulate a good picture of what the era was like for gay people, the gay experience, the actual events of Stonewall, and of course, the aftermath. This is the best kind of collection, that lets you decide for yourself what could really have happene ...more
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... ...more
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
Michael Padden
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing compilation of writings from queer leaders and activists before, during and after stone wall. This book centers queer people of color, presents many conflicting accounts of the Stonewall riots, and provides a sort of road map about where we should be focusing our energies today as a community.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good collection of diverse material & literature centred around gay lib before, during and after stonewall. Very American centric however ...more
Ruby Books
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Stonewall Reader is a collection of essays, interviews, and snippets of texts edited by the New York Public Library. There are three sections: before, during, and after Stonewall. The synopsis explains it better than I can, but Stonewall is generally regarded as a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. I don't read much non-fiction and my knowledge of Stonewall is pretty basic so I was really excited to read this.

There was a great scope of texts in this book, including some authors I
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
Christina Connor
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As an ally and an advocate, this was a humbling read. I love any book that reveals more about New York’s history and development as a city. The book is broken up into three parts (before, during, and after Stonewall), which gave great insight into the progression of the LGBTQ movement in the 60’s and 70’s. Furthermore, so much of what is discussed in this book is prevalent in what is occurring in our country today. In a letter to president Kennedy, Franklin Kameny expressed, “under present polit ...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
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one was slow going for me. It's a little book but each story has so much to soak up that I felt like I needed to read them a few at a time. I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of Stonewall from reading different perspectives on what happened from all different memories of the queer community. Because I can be a black/white thinker, I would have loved a really clear timeline of the days. But the choice to leave it ambiguous by hearing different perspectives was a great refle ...more
Bryan Schwartz
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, lgbt
Years ago, I wrote my master's thesis on the early LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States and used a number of primary sources from the New York Public Library to inform my analysis. It was a great pleasure to see some of those incredible sources preserved forever in this slim, yet effective, volume. The Stonewall Reader should be required reading in high school US history courses and is an invaluable resource for anyone studying the history of LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.
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.
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“No, this wasn’t a 1960s student riot. Out there were the streets. There were no nice dorms for sleeping. No school cafeteria for certain food. No affluent parents to send us checks. There was a ghetto riot on home turf. We already had our war wounds. So this was just another battle. Nobody thought of it as history, herstory, my-story, your-story, or our-story. We were being denied a place to dance together. That’s all. The total charisma of a revolution in our CONSCIOUSNESS rising from the gutter to the gut to the heart and the mind was here. Non-existence (or part existence) was coming into being, and being into becoming. Our Mother Stonewall was giving birth to a new era and we were the midwives.” 2 likes
“This place was the “ART” that gave form to the feelings of our heartbeats. Here the consciousness of knowing you “belonged” nestled into that warm feeling of finally being HOME. And Home engenders love and loyalty quite naturally. So, we loved the Stonewall.” 1 likes
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