Free eBook The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey MilkAuthor Randy Shilts – Mariahilff.de

This is a fantastic book I give it three stars for writing, four for reportage and five for being incredibly inspiring There were passages throughout that I wanted to mark and post here, but I didn t The appendices include several superb speeches by Milk the man was both a practical and philosophical adherent of making cities human The book is not just about his on the ground life, but his ideas, too And they were grand ideas, but always with a human face Milk believed in humans, not just This is a fantastic book I give it three stars for writing, four for reportage and five for being incredibly inspiring There were passages throughout that I wanted to mark and post here, but I didn t The appendices include several superb speeches by Milk the man was both a practical and philosophical adherent of making cities human The book is not just about his on the ground life, but his ideas, too And they were grand ideas, but always with a human face Milk believed in humans, not just gay humans, but all humans.Lest you think I treat him blindly as an icon, fret not Milk was a con man to a degree, or at least a showman He was a politician, but he was an individualist in a system that molds people into machine parts He never quite became that cog And yet, he left a great legacy.Interestingly, the final third of the book takes place after Milk s death The outrageous trial of the WASP assassin Dan White zeroes in on the carte blanche open season on gays that society has managed to justify for so long This is a book about Milk s times , after all, as the book s title says, and as such it deeply examines the warped and sad attitudes of hate that did and do continue.Reading this moved me to tears, but also made me hopping mad with outrage A great biography about a great American hero earlier comment This seemed like a natural after finishing The Celluloid Closet So far, early in, it s an ultra fascinating look at what it was like for an All American boy to grow up gay in the 1940s and 1950s in New York City and environs the furtiveness and danger but also the rare joy of finding monogamous happiness in spite of the incredible obstacles.I ve seen the excellent 1984 documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk a couple of times the first timethan 20 years ago I haven t seen the Hollywood feature Milk with Sean Penn yet he certainly cuts a remarkable likeness to the real deal The combination of fascinating topic, character and Shilts as author And the Band Played On is one of my favorite epics of reportage make this a no brainer selection Well written biography of Harvey Milk Shilts eschews the hagiographic approach adopted in the movie Milk to provide arounded view of Milk s life, his life s work and his legacy Shilts portrays Milk with all his fire and passion for life both personal and political We see his skill as a politician with an inate sense of theatre and of justice, who built a broad support base that included not just the gay population but small business, blue collar industry and other minority groups We a Well written biography of Harvey Milk Shilts eschews the hagiographic approach adopted in the movie Milk to provide arounded view of Milk s life, his life s work and his legacy Shilts portrays Milk with all his fire and passion for life both personal and political We see his skill as a politician with an inate sense of theatre and of justice, who built a broad support base that included not just the gay population but small business, blue collar industry and other minority groups We also see the growth of the gay rights movement which Shilts rightly situates in the context of the social and economic changes taking place in San Francisco and the Castro at the time And we see how gay sexual and political empowerment fed into Milk s own personal outsized life.This edition comes with the full text of four of Milk s most famous speeches, including his Hope Speech and his recorded political will Living as an educated American in 2012, stories about the violence and ostracism meted out to gay people just a few decades ago seem unreal Harvey Milk, sensibly, spent most of his life being discreet and maintaining a respectable facade His sense of moral outrage, as well as his sense of theater, however, eventually got the better of him Shortly after moving to San Francisco in 1973, he took up politics The Mayor of Castro Street is both a biography of Milk and a history of gay life in mi Living as an educated American in 2012, stories about the violence and ostracism meted out to gay people just a few decades ago seem unreal Harvey Milk, sensibly, spent most of his life being discreet and maintaining a respectable facade His sense of moral outrage, as well as his sense of theater, however, eventually got the better of him Shortly after moving to San Francisco in 1973, he took up politics The Mayor of Castro Street is both a biography of Milk and a history of gay life in mid twentieth century America, one which I enjoyed reading.Shilts takes care to highlight the disgust Milk felt for what amounted to a gay establishment in the 1970s A gay man, Jim Foster, gave a speech at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, but gays remained in a far corner of civil discourse Foster and others like him preferred to cultivate the support of liberal friends rather than directly seek political office for themselves Milk fumed at this modest approach He preferred to work directly, on the streets, to change the hearts and minds of straight citizens while also organizing gays to campaign for office Only by taking power for themselves would gays win equal treatment under the law.Despite his success, whether Milk s strategy was correct is something the gay movement as a whole has yet to agree about, I think Milk s comments about 1970s gay moderates could easily apply to the Human Rights Campaign of today I do not understand political lobbying, I admit, but HRC seem to melike lapdogs of the Democratic Party than potent advocates for gay equality That HRC today occupy Milk s former camera store on Castro Street is annoying, to put it mildly.Fighting against the Briggs Initiative , a ban on gay school teachers which appeared on the November 1978 California ballot as Proposition 6, is a central plot element of the film Milk, although it s just one event among many in the book Like other events around Milk s life, it parallels events in the 2000s and after Then, as now, a gay bogeyman was evoked for political gain state senator John Briggs made little secret that his initiative was a platform from which to launch a campaign for higher office Then, as now, the arguments in favor of institutional prejudice against gays were flimsy, when they weren t based on outright lies Then, as now, anti gay campaigners were largely driven by religious notions, upon which secular interlocutors can find little purchase, and ignorant prejudice, to which I can find within myself no response other than bafflement and anger This exchange from page 241 is a good example of the kind of twisted thinking that tends to leave me speechless Briggs counted gays lucky that this public crusade was not led by a zealot but a pragmatic politician Aren t you guys glad I m leading this and not one of those people from way out in left field he asked one gay reporter with whom he had struck a rapport.The reporter wasn t sure what Briggs meant I mean, I don t want to put you people in prison or anything It could be a lot worse Briggs leaned across his desk and asked sincerely, Aren t you guys glad this isn t being led by some crazy Shiltz s writing is engaging and emotionally powerful However, his imagery can be overly dramatic, and he sometimes reaches too far in ascribing significance to chance events He was a San Francisco reporter both during and after Milk s life, and he also lived in the Castro neighborhood To the extent he was caught up in the passion of the the time, I can t really fault him However, I sometimes wondered to what extent his passion came at the expense of veracity, particularly when a powerful passage seemed short on detail For instance, the brutal murder of a gay man in 1977 is followed by the revelation that the murderer secretly engaged in trysts with other men Shilts clearly means for the reader to infer cause and effect here, but he doesn t supply the necessary proof It seems to fit too neatly into the trope of self hating, closeted gay man expresses his inner turmoil through violence against other gays I was suspicious at this and other wink nudge passages.Explanatory details are missing in a few other places, perhaps because a reader in the 1980s would be expected not to need them For instance, Milk s association with drag queens is cited as an explanation for his relatively weak rapport with lesbians, but Shilts doesn t explain how the one causes the other The book is also marred by several errors of word choice, including a ridiculous mix up of de facto and de jure in a sentence describing a 1975 California Senate vote as abolish ing the law that had for over a century made homosexuals de facto felons in California p 106 For a figure who inspires hope and admiration, the aftermath of Milk s death is depressing at best Shilts calls it ambiguous The police, essentially unchanged by the shifting sentiment in city government, start a new wave of harrassment and beatings of gays Dianne Feinstein hems and haws over whom to appoint to replace Milk on the Board of Supervisors, being fair minded at some times and voicing odd prejudices at others The prosecution of Dan White is appallingly feeble, and in another wink nudge passage Shilts all but accuses the District Attorney s office of deliberately concealing vital but embarrassing evidence the political machinations that culminated in the loss of White s supervisor seat, i.e., his motive for the assassinations The reader is hardly surprised at the outcome White was convicted only of voluntary manslaughter and served less than six years in jail for the premeditated slayings of two men At the verdict s announcement, a dispatcher sings Danny Boy over the police radio, the least of many overt examples of police approval of White s actions.Milk s dream of gays and straights living side by side is tarnished in general by the riots following White s trial, and wrecked specifically by the continued straight evacuation of the Castro neighborhood Even in the 1980s Shilts saw the Castro gays become apathetic about politics and civil rights Gays living in the cities had the dream of equality already realized for them in many ways, while those living in the rest of America were too few and too isolated to band together to help themselves This apathy arguably persists today young people have too much on their minds for abstract notions of equality and progress to warrantthan an occasional monetary donation or an article shared on Facebook Milk was a rare man at a rare time We haven t seen his like since The Mayor of Castro Street The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts is by far one of the most remarkable books I have ever read For those of you who have seen Sean Penn in Milk, the movie only provided glimpse into the complex man and the times he lived in Randy Shilts goes beyond and tells not only of story of Harvey Milk but the rich history of the modern day GLBT movement The details of early homosexuality of how gay and lesbians were treated in San Francisco offer insight on a s The Mayor of Castro Street The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts is by far one of the most remarkable books I have ever read For those of you who have seen Sean Penn in Milk, the movie only provided glimpse into the complex man and the times he lived in Randy Shilts goes beyond and tells not only of story of Harvey Milk but the rich history of the modern day GLBT movement The details of early homosexuality of how gay and lesbians were treated in San Francisco offer insight on a subject, which sadly I knew little about Shilts attention to detail helps create a historical map of how things were, how they changed when Harvey arrived in San Francisco and the legacy he left behind after his murder Harvey s impact on society reached across this country and created a new found awareness for everyone in the GLBT movement.As so many people have recently stated, it is an ironic twist that timing of the movie about Harvey s life came out when it did Reading The Mayor of Castro Street further reinforces this same notion We live in society which just fought a major battle over Prop 8 in California, which banned homosexuals the equal right to marry Harvey fought against Prop 6, which banned teachers, doctors and others, professionals if they were openly gay Harvey preached of hope, as a nation we just elected a President who preached of change, hopefully this time around we get the message and it sticks.There are so many things I could say about this incredible book but I will leave it on these two thoughts It is rare that a book makes me cry Like the movie, the section detailing the murder of Milk made me cry It was one of those few instances, when you even though you know the outcome, you are compelled to pay attention to every detail as Shilts recreates them.Finally, I think this an important book for everyone to read Even if you don t feel you are part of the GLBT community, like Harvey said, you got to give people hope This book offers hope and hope that as a society we can better ourselves and the society we live in The Mayor of Castro Street is Shilts s acclaimed story of Harvey Milk, the man whose personal life, public career, and tragic assassination mirrored the dramatic and unprecedented emergence of the gay community in America during the s His is a story of personal tragedies and political intrigues, assassination in City Hall and massive riots in the streets, the miscarri While this book wasn t technically perfect, it did fire up a range of emotions in me especially toward the end rocketing it from the 4 star category to 5 star category It was amazing how sad and angry I could get when I already knew the general outline of how things turned out.Some thoughts 1 I had never really understood the rioting that happens after many heinous legal verdictsbefore excepts perhaps in a abstract way Reading about the White Night riots after the Dan White trial and verdi While this book wasn t technically perfect, it did fire up a range of emotions in me especially toward the end rocketing it from the 4 star category to 5 star category It was amazing how sad and angry I could get when I already knew the general outline of how things turned out.Some thoughts 1 I had never really understood the rioting that happens after many heinous legal verdictsbefore excepts perhaps in a abstract way Reading about the White Night riots after the Dan White trial and verdict , I could viscerally understand them 2 It was great to see the things the movie understandably for time and narrative reasons left out This included the White Night riots and the minutia of politics in California in the 60s and 70s among others 3 The book provoked some great food for thought in my head about politics and queer strategy 4 There should be an alternative history novel in which Harvey Milk isn t assassinated 5 Listening to the audiobook in tandem with reading the physical book enhanced my enjoyment of the book 6 Harvey Milk was a great speech maker and jokester June 2009Having recently watched both the documentary and therecent film, I was curious to learnabout the life of Harvey Milk This book provides it The Mayor of Castro Street is a fascinating look into Milk s life and all too short political career, as well as a detailed and sad history of gay rights in the Twentieth Century Thirty years later, it s humbling to see how far we ve come and how far we have yet to go.Minor complaint Since it was republished to tie in with the 2008 June 2009Having recently watched both the documentary and therecent film, I was curious to learnabout the life of Harvey Milk This book provides it The Mayor of Castro Street is a fascinating look into Milk s life and all too short political career, as well as a detailed and sad history of gay rights in the Twentieth Century Thirty years later, it s humbling to see how far we ve come and how far we have yet to go.Minor complaint Since it was republished to tie in with the 2008 film, I was hoping to see an updated epilogue about Harvey s friends and colleagues Cleve Jones, Dick Pabich, Anne Kronenburg, etc Randy Shilts death obviously complicates that, but any number of Milk s successors could ve provided some sort of afterword The lack of recent, up to date information doesn t detract from the book s merits, but it would be a nice touch Previously having read And The Band Played On, I knew I would enjoy this book before I read it Since Shilts was a journalist and an author, his narration is gripping For many years, I have attempted to understand the experiences of my gay brothers and sisters so I can be a better ally And books like these are a good way to begin I had seen Milk, but I liked learningabout him as a person, as opposed to the skin deep version we got in the movie If you have any interest in GLBT Studies, Previously having read And The Band Played On, I knew I would enjoy this book before I read it Since Shilts was a journalist and an author, his narration is gripping For many years, I have attempted to understand the experiences of my gay brothers and sisters so I can be a better ally And books like these are a good way to begin I had seen Milk, but I liked learningabout him as a person, as opposed to the skin deep version we got in the movie If you have any interest in GLBT Studies, The Mayor of Castro Street definitely needs to be on your must read list So many things to say on this one Long review This is a great read for those not only interested in the history of gay rights, but also those interested in biographies of dynamic political leaders and the powerful change they can inspire in people, despite and or because of their personal lives and complex character profiles Harvey Milk is super fascinating, period In some ways, he was a consummate politician, shaking hands everywhere he went, obsessed with the concept of political th So many things to say on this one Long review This is a great read for those not only interested in the history of gay rights, but also those interested in biographies of dynamic political leaders and the powerful change they can inspire in people, despite and or because of their personal lives and complex character profiles Harvey Milk is super fascinating, period In some ways, he was a consummate politician, shaking hands everywhere he went, obsessed with the concept of political theatre, forging alliances, getting the media to present the story he wanted told But he was also a real idealist and a frustratingly stubborn public representative for the underserved community, which is not that easy to find in a big city any It sounds like he never compromised on a damn thing when it came to the big stuff I get a little grossed out whenever I interact with politicians because I feel like they re 700% focused on trying to win votes and force their agenda Half the time I don t agree with them, and the other half, I may agree with part of it, but I don t really like the person because they re just smarmy or whatever And you can definitely see from this book that Harvey Milk was obsessed with winning votes and furthering his agenda, but the agenda was always about fundamentally important community development issues expanding rights for the vulnerable, fighting corporate interests, and developing cities from the inside instead of the outside Another thing I liked about this book is that it presented a neutral profile of a politician who didn t have a pearly white chaste personal life I sincerely don t give a single solitary shit what politicians do in their personal life, as long as they re not hypocritizing against their own political platforms or committing some sort of crime Maybe this is why I still love Bill Clinton because I agree with the majority of his actions as President and 99% of his actions post President , and I never judged Hilary who is also mah girl for not leaving him because it is absolutely none of our business and it has literally nothing to do with their jobs of serving us as public officials This book unabashedly shows Harvey Milk as a free lovin guy who had a lot of boyfriends even when he had serious boyfriends , and again, it literally had no effect on his work as a Supervisor Randy Shilts was also open about the fact that he was pretty demanding and not that cool sometimes, so I appreciated that an honest look at that.I would also highly recommend reading the speeches in the appendix because they re truly awesome take no shit calls for action At the same time, those speeches were a big bummer because he actually talked a lot about non exclusively gay issues like fighting big business and tourist interests, making San Francisco an accessible place to live, developing neighborhood centric city plans and depending on which report you look at, San Francisco is now in the top 5 most expensive cities in America to live in, above LA, Boston, DC, etc Such is the legacy of those with unpopular ideas, I guess.What I was not expecting from this book was the final 50 pages, and this is because of my own ignorance of what happened in the aftermath of Milk s death It s weird to say spoiler alert, as it happened like 30 years ago, but it is absolutely insane what happened to Milk s murderer in the trial It recalls a lot of ridiculous non murder verdict in the past 20 years including 2013.One small note is that the edition I read wasn t really updated from its original 1980 publication date so I had to do some Googling afterwards to find out what everyone was up to Overall a really fascinating political read This is a great story about a tremendous personality, but unfortunately, not a very good book.Harvey Milk is a legend, and the best thing that the author did here was to bring his personality to life in these pages As the book went on, I liked himand , I was in his corner, I wanted him to succeed and I was deeply sad at his end, though I knew it was coming Unfortunately, however, his charisma wasn t enough to hold my attention through the book And the focus on his life faltered and This is a great story about a tremendous personality, but unfortunately, not a very good book.Harvey Milk is a legend, and the best thing that the author did here was to bring his personality to life in these pages As the book went on, I liked himand , I was in his corner, I wanted him to succeed and I was deeply sad at his end, though I knew it was coming Unfortunately, however, his charisma wasn t enough to hold my attention through the book And the focus on his life faltered and becomeandsporadic as the book went on.Perhaps this is because Randy Shilts was well intentioned but overly ambitious in everything he wanted to cover I feel like he couldn t decide whether the focus of his book was Harvey or the gay rights movement Granted, the two were certainly interlinked, but as a reader, it felt like he couldn t decide, shifting the narrative from Harvey s perspective to suddenly including wide ranging events that occurred elsewhere, without providing adequate context or linkage As a result, the book wandered tremendously,so as it went on, with new characters introduced virtually every three pages As a reader, I found it hard to keep up, and was left confused and eventually bored.Another problem I had was that Shilts assumed I knew a lotabout American state level politics than I actually did I don t know whether it s because I m not American or not politically minded either way, it added to the confusion.I end the way I begun In these pages was outlined the life of a great man, for whom we should all have tremendous respect That, however, didn t save this from being a very scattered, overly ambitious and somewhat boring book I would strongly recommend you google and learnabout Harvey Milk His was an inspirational and important life, and we could all learn something from it But reading this book is not the best way to do that, in my opinion