“The Mayor of Castro Street”

The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (Paperback) The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts

My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had this book on my “to read” list for ages, ever since it was mentioned in passing in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. Once I found out that they were making a biopic, I knew I needed to read it before seeing the movie.

I might add to this review after seeing “Milk” tomorrow, because I will be very curious to see if they made him out to be a martyr when he was, in fact, a far from perfect man. The book leads one to wonder what were the MAIN driving forces for all the work he did for the gay community…I mean, obviously his stances and beliefs were real…but was the most important thing to him gay equality rights? Or putting on a good show?

The book does an extremely impressive job telling a very even-handed story. Randy Shilts does not paint Milk as the 2nd coming, or a superhuman being, or even someone who did superhuman things. Amazing things, to be sure, and was definitely a driving force behind gay activism in the 1970’s… but ultimately just a man, and a flawed one at that.

Another thing I really liked about this book as it doesn’t just talk about Harvey Milk, but about this pivotal time in gay activism in general. Inserted throughout the main story are smaller anecdotes about men coming out of the closet, or facing adversity. Some triumphing, and some failing, but all ultimately leading to something bigger.

View all my reviews.

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~ by Alli on Sunday, January 4, 2009.

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