Cover image for Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution
Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution
Carter, David, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
336 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
pt. 1. Setting the stage -- Greenwich Village, USA -- Oppression, resistance, and everyday life -- On the street -- The Stonewall Inn -- The skull -- Dawn is just breaking -- pt. 2. The Stonewall riots -- A Friday night out -- "We're taking the place!" -- Lancing the festering wound of anger -- "Christopher Street belongs to the queens!" -- "They've lost that wounded look" -- pt. 3. Gay liberation -- Seizing the moment -- "We're the gay liberation front!" -- The heroic age.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ76 .C3155 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HQ76 .C3155 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In June of 1969, a series of riots over police action at The Stonewall Inn, a small, dank, mob-run gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York changed the longtime landscape of homosexuals in society, literally overnight. These riots are widely acknowledged as the 'first shot' that ushered in a previously unimagined era of openness, political action, and massive social change. From an era when lesbians and gays were routinely closeted and in fear of losing their jobs, their apartments, theirfamilies and even their freedom, these riots - barely covered in the media at the time - were the spark that led to a new militancy and openness in the gay political movement. The name "Stonewall" has itself become almost synonymous with the struggle for gay rights and, yet, there has been relatively little hard information generally available about the riots themselves.For the first time, David Carter provides an in-depth account of those riots as well as a complete background of the bar, the area in which the riots occurred, the social, political, and legal climate that led up to those events. He also dispels many of the accumulated myths, provides previously unknown facts, and new insight into what is the most significant rebellion against the status quo until the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Based on over a decade of research, hundreds of interviews, and an exhaustive search of public and private records, Stonewall is the definitive story of one of modern history's most singular events.

Author Notes

David Carter has had a varied career as a writer, editor, and filmmaker. He is the author of biographies of Salvador Dali and George Santayana, he edited and compiled Spontaneous Mind , a collection of interviews with Allen Ginsberg, and directed the film Meher Baba in Italy for Peter Townshend. Carter has a B.A. from Emory University and an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin. He is a resident of Greenwich Village in New York City.

Reviews 5

Booklist Review

In the late 1960s, homosexual sex was illegal in every state but Illinois; now the news routinely covers the latest on gay marriages. So the subtitle says it all--or does it? The six days of riots sparked by police action in the early morning of June 28, 1969, against a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, constituted a homosexual shot heard 'round the world that transformed an American subculture. Carter's carefully researched, well-crafted writing portrays Stonewall as part of a larger civil and human rights movement and a spur to the gay rights movement. Stonewall precipitated great change--the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance, for instance--and that leads Carter to examine the socio-politico-cultural convergence that resulted in the riots. Hundred of interviews figure into Carter's thorough exploration that dispels long-held myths and provides fresh facts about a freedom fight some liken to the fall of the Berlin Wall. --Whitney Scott Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

While the centerpiece here is undoubtedly his hour-by-hour relating of the explosive June 1969 riots, Carter, an editor of Allen Ginsberg's interviews (Spontaneous Mind, 2001), also provides an extended prelude that highlights the places, activists and others who come to play key roles. Carter's beloved Greenwich Village and what he calls its "queer geography," which enabled gay culture to form, flourish and consolidate itself, emerges as an inimitable, finely detailed hero. But for Carter, the most audacious, energetic and enterprising of riot participants were the drag queens, homeless queer youths and other gender transgressors whose position on the farthest margins of society enabled their radical response to oppression. What they and others managed to do, Carter renders with fresh care and enthusiasm, getting new quotes and offering unfamiliar perspectives, such as the Mafia's role both as a patron of the gay scene in New York City (including the Stonewall Inn, which it owned and operated) and as a blackmailer of famous homosexuals. He ends appropriately with the emergence of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance, as well as the first gay pride parade, held in June 1970. While it may distract readers interested only in the story of gay liberation, Carter's logistical history of what gay author Edmund White called "our Bastille Day" will become a permanent addition to the great histories of the civil rights era. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

On the sultry summer night of June 27, 1969, what began as a routine police raid on the Mafia-owned Stonewall Inn, a seedy but popular gay club in New York's Greenwich Village, escalated into an uprising that lasted six nights and kick-started the gay liberation movement in North America. In the first comprehensive chronicle of this mythic event since Martin Duberman's Stonewall (1993), freelance journalist Carter presents not only a blow-by-blow retelling of the fateful night and its aftermath but a detailed history of the Stonewall Inn and the forces that made Greenwich Village a lodestone for gays, where despite its permissive, bohemian reputation, the price for free expression of gay sexuality was social and legal persecution and the mean-streets realities of drugs, crime, and death. The author depicts the Stonewall riots as a unique convergence of time, place, and circumstance and performs some gentle revisionism on the received version of events, emphasizing the contributions of lesbians and street youth while downplaying, but not discounting, the role of drag queens. Carter's gripping narrative supersedes Duberman's as the definitive account, and his urban history compares favorably with Charles Kaiser's The Gay Metropolis. Highly recommended.-Richard J. Violette, Special Libs. Cataloguing, Victoria, B.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-"In 1969, homosexual acts were illegal in every state except Illinois." With that statement, this film, based on David Carter's Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution (St. Martin's Press, 2004), sets the stage for a drama that culminates with the birth of the modern Gay Pride movement. Forty years ago, the idea of being "out and proud" was inconceivable to the men and women-some of them teenagers themselves in the late 1960s-who share their recollections in interviews. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness. Laws against "lewd conduct" and "masquerading" were used to persecute those who dared to gather at the Mafia-run "gay bars." Despite this, GLBT people who had watched or participated in civil rights campaigns began forming their own "homophile movement" and connecting through groups like the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis. After months of escalating crack-downs and arrests, when six police officers were sent to raid the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village in June 1969, they found themselves outnumbered. Instead of meekly submitting, the bar's patrons fought back, and they were quickly joined by a crowd of thousands outside. The riots were followed by what would become known as the first Gay Pride parade. Directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner interweave archival footage from news coverage and educational films produced in the 1950s and 1960s with contemporary interviews of actual participants. Former Mayor Ed Koch, author Eric Marcus, and law professor William Eskridge provide historical information to set the events in context. The primary source materials, interviewee biographies, teacher's guide, and more supporting resources are available online. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.-Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This excellent study of the Stonewall riots explores the gay liberation movement from its origins to the explosions that unfolded in Greenwich Village in June 1969. Carter provides apt commentary on that pocket of Manhattan, which long possessed a reputation for offering a haven for bohemians and homosexuals; nevertheless, the Village's gay sectors confronted a hostile police department and long-standing repressive social and legal constraints. Those constraints, Carter indicates, dated back to the repressive nature of the Puritans, but also strengthened throughout the early postwar era, as when President Eisenhower allowed homosexual government employees to be dismissed on grounds of "sexual perversion." Gays and lesbians began battling back, establishing organizations such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, and challenging homophobic pronouncements by state legislatures, the mass media, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Carter's greatest contribution involves his careful depiction of the respective gay scenes in New York City and San Francisco, the mounting frustrations induced by police harassment and societal pressures, and the eventual eruptions on both coasts. The Stonewall riots attracted the most attention because of their duration, intensity, and location in the nation's cultural center. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and faculty. R. C. Cottrell California State University, Chico