Harvey Milk His Lives and Death Lillian Faderman

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
14 Aug 2018
ISBN:
9780300222616
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
304 pages: 210 x 146 x 22mm
Illustrations:
15 b-w illus.

A lively and engaging biography of the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States, a man fiercely committed to protecting all minorities

Harvey Milk—eloquent, charismatic, and a smart-aleck—was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, but he had not even served a full year in office when he was shot by a homophobic fellow supervisor. Milk’s assassination at the age of forty-eight made him the most famous gay man in modern history; twenty years later Time magazine included him on its list of the hundred most influential individuals of the twentieth century.

Before finding his calling as a politician, however, Harvey variously tried being a schoolteacher, a securities analyst on Wall Street, a supporter of Barry Goldwater, a Broadway theater assistant, a bead-wearing hippie, the operator of a camera store and organizer of the local business community in San Francisco. He rejected Judaism as a religion, but he was deeply influenced by the cultural values of his Jewish upbringing and his understanding of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. His early influences and his many personal and professional experiences finally came together when he decided to run for elective office as the forceful champion of gays, racial minorities, women, working people, the disabled, and senior citizens. In his last five years, he focused all of his tremendous energy on becoming a successful public figure with a distinct political voice.

Lillian Faderman is a distinguished scholar of LGBT and ethnic history and literature. She is the author of The Gay Revolution.

“Faderman has a gloriously fanatical commitment to illuminating and commemorating her subjects. . . . Any revolutionary would be lucky to stand in a light so steady, so searching, and so sure.”—Kenji Yoshino, New York Times Book Review, on The Gay Revolution


“Faderman’s narrative mixes the personal and the political with great skill; subtly displaying how at a fundamental level, fighting for collective political rights is really just a human yearning for personal happiness, which usually has its roots in compassion.”—JP O’Malley, Irish Sunday Independent


“Lillian Faderman has particularly interesting things to say about three themes: Milk’s Jewish background, his populist politics, and his death.”—Alan David, Jewish Chronicle


“Thanks to Lillian Faderman we know also know about Harvey the secular Jew, who renounced his faith but remained influenced and inspired by liberal Jewish values.”—Peter Tatchell, Spectator


“Lillian Faderman offers a fresh and thoroughly documented take on this groundbreaking politician and gay Jewish martyr. In Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death, Faderman seeks to answer two key questions: What influenced Milk’s life, and why did he become an American icon?”– Gregg Drinkwater, Western Historical Quarterly


Finalist in the 2018 National Jewish Book Award, biography category
 


Selected as one of the Top Ten Titles for the 2018 Over the Rainbow Booklist, sponsored by the GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association

 


Finalist in the 2019 Lammys Awards, Gay Memoir/Biography category


Finalist for the 2019  Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, sponsored by the Publishing Triangle


“Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Lillian Faderman’s Harvey Milk is a revelation. This insightful work provides context to Milk’s life as a gay icon and illuminates how his experience was deeply informed by his own Jewish identity.”—Cleve Jones, author of When We Rise: My Life in the Movement