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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 ratings  ·  90 reviews
The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. At a little after one a.m. on the morning of June 28, 1969, the police carried out a routine raid on the bar. But it turned out not to be routine at all. Instead of cowering -- the usual reaction to a police raid -- the patrons inside Stonewall and the crowd that gathered outside the bar fought back against t ...more
Paperback, 330 pages
Published May 1994 by Plume Books (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,228 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
“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
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 J. Sanders
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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

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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Much broader and deeper than one riot, which is why it’s so important to know history. The most disheartening part is how much momentum was lost because the antiwar, Black, feminist, gay and lesbian movements were intent on excluding each other. How much more progress could have been made?

Also, this, by way of history repeating:
“For the better part of a week, the police, with little or no provocation, literally assaulted antiwar demonstrators and yippies alike, spilling so much blood, and bas
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Debbie Notkin
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
David Solomon
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
a very informative and encompassing read on stonewall, providing context on the early homophile movement and the riots’ lasting impact on gay liberation in the US. Despite the national focus, it never loses its distinctly personal tone! 🏳️‍🌈
Grace 📚the bookish ocelot📚
An enjoyable history about the fight for LGBTQ rights. Told from the perspective of six activists, it covers the time from their early childhoods to Stonewall and beyond.
Craig Werner
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jalen NeSmith
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
imo the title of this book is a little misleading, because 90% of the book is less focused on stonewall and more on pre-stonewall LGBT movements and how stonewall slotted into them. that said, it is an absolutely amazing resource for pre-stonewall movements! i picked this up in a fit of feverish gay-book-buying and i am legitimately so happy i did; it's for the most part very vivid and overall extremely well-researched and written... + it's also just a very important read imo. a lot of the figur ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Chelsey Payne
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very informational! I enjoyed the way the author presented the experiences of the 6 people that’s stories were highlighted. Only about 50 pages was actually about the Stonewall Riots, at about 55% way through the book. The beginning sections set up each person’s story beginning in their youth, their contributions and political engagement in the 50s and 60s leading up to the Stonewall Riots. Important to see everything that has been done for lgbtq+ rights, and what we still need to ...more
Greg Chandler
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
As it is Pride Month I thought this would be a good read. I have heard of Stonewall, know a teeny bit of history and thought this would be a great story to read. Author Duberman chronicles the lives of six people and their lives and how their lives intersect at the Stonewall riots.

The book is good as a history and would imagine a student interested in LGBTQ+ people, issues, histories, of Stonewall in particular, etc. would probably find this of use as a reference. However, the criticisms resonat
Shannon Wyss
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Daniel Zaltsman
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What were the culminating events that led to the first first ever Gay Pride Parade (originally known as Christopher Street Liberation Day?) This book follows the lives of 5 people who's very different life experience led to this historic occasion. Keep in mind the book tells the story leading up to the day of the first parade and that's where the story ends (and many others begin.)

This book is a good primer and history class on the gay rights movement in the decade leading up to the Stonewall Ri
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
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
Alex Long
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really cool history. The author has a talent for bringing interesting characters to life. Unfortunately, it seems that he preferred writing about some people more than others, because some sections drag when they follow someone the author is more critical of.
He does a good job of showing Stonewall in context. Not as some big institution in itself (the titular riots take up only a small part of the book), but a culmination of many political factors that in turn shifted attitudes within activist
Faith Huff
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A really, thoroughly interesting and informative read about the history of the LGBTQ+ movement! I was (pleasantly) surprised by the amount this book focused not on Stonewall itself, but on the history leading up to the Stonewall riots and to, subsequently, Pride parades every year. The different perspectives Duberman focused on were interesting, and there was certainly quite a bit of information I knew nothing about and was thrilled to learn. I'm looking forward to reading up more about stories ...more
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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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