Monday, May 18, 2015

Book of the Week

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights

by Ann Bausum

Viking, 2015
120 pages
ISBN: 978-0-670-01679-2

Age 13 and older

A history of the Stonewall riots sets the scene with a vibrant description of west Greenwich Village in 1969. That summer, the Stonewall Inn was a place to drink and to dance and for gays, lesbians, cross-dressers and transgenders, a place to be free and open. Everyone knew police raids happened, but the raid on June 28 was different, with its aim to shut the Mafia-run bar down. And it was different because this time bar patrons, who were so often disrespected and closeted outside places like the Stonewall, pushed back. Stonewall customers and their supporters took control against the police, who hadn’t planned on the crowd getting so angry and who didn’t know the warren of streets in the neighborhood as well as those who lived or hung out there. Ann Bausum’s riveting, detailed account includes an overview of activism in the years leading up to Stonewall, and a look at the riots’ immediate and long-term impact. This includes increased visibility and activism in events like the annual parade that began to commemorate Stonewall—the genesis for gay pride parades across the nation and beyond; the more radical activism that arose during the AIDS crisis, when lives were on the line; Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its repeal; and the fight for marriage equality. A spare collection of black-and-white photos accompanies this fascinating history that includes source notes and an ample bibliography. (MS) ©2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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