Harvey Milk as seen through fresh, highly knowledgeable eyes.



A new biography of the controversial and groundbreaking Harvey Milk (1930-1978).

In this latest installment of the publisher’s Jewish Lives series, LGBT historian Faderman (The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, 2015, etc.) focuses on one of the most revolutionary West Coast gay politicians of the 20th century. Born to a Jewish family, Milk struggled to find his place in the society that surrounded him, regardless of where he lived and went to school. As the author writes, “Harvey was steeped in Jewishness as a child….But his heart was not in it. He later claimed that he rejected religion because when he was twelve years old he ‘found out that religion was phony or hypocritical.’ ” Milk’s ability to see things as they were—to see through the protective membranes of societal and cultural preconceptions—is what set him apart as a deeply insightful politician. He clearly identified the major issues in his community and addressed them head-on. Faderman deftly navigates us through Milk’s incredible journey, from his days exploring the Navy’s gay haven to his experience in the early 1970s in New York scrapping pennies to pay the rent on his Greenwich Village apartment to his arrival to California, where he quickly became a staple in the Castro District, the notoriously gay neighborhood in San Francisco. The author naturally devotes much of the text to Milk’s political accomplishments, including his work against the discriminatory Proposition 6, voter registration drives, and, above all, being the first openly gay man elected as city supervisor. Though Milk’s story is well-known, Faderman does a fantastic job at reanimating a story that reminds us that people can be truly tolerant—with the exception of the few—and that, with will (not money), anyone can effect change.

Harvey Milk as seen through fresh, highly knowledgeable eyes.

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-300-22261-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?