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The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

by Randy Shilts
St. Martin's Press


When Randy Shilts's The Mayor of Castro Street appeared in 1982, the very idea of a gay political biography was brand-new. While biographies of literary and artistic figures were a popular genre, there had been no openly gay political figure who merited a full-length book. Harvey Milk--a gay political organizer who became the first openly gay city supervisor in San Francisco and was then assassinated (along with liberal mayor George Moscone)--was the obvious choice for such a book.

And Randy Shilts--a young reporter who had risen up through the gay press to become the first openly gay reporter with a gay "beat" in the American mainstream press--was the perfect person to write it. The Mayor of Castro Street is focused on the narrative of Harvey Milk's political rise from running a small business on Castro Street, to organizing local gay men and lesbians around grass-roots issues, to winning an elected office. But in many ways this is also a forceful and engaging story of the gay rights movement in the second half of the 20th century. Thus, Shilts follows the growth of the Castro as a gay neighborhood and the growth of San Francisco's gay community from a ragtag collection of people who socialized and sexualized together into a vibrant and political force.
--Michael Bronski, Review

Selected Bibliography

Double Play: The San Francisco City Hall Killings. Mike Weiss. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1984.

Gayslayer. Warren Hinckle. Virginia City, Nevada: Silver Dollar Books, 1985.

Execution of Justice. Emily Mann. New York: Samuel French, 1986.

Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Edited by Mark Thompson. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

Uncommon Heroes: A Celebration of Heroes and Role Models for Gay and Lesbian Americans. Edited by Samuel Bernstein, Phillip Sherman (Executive Editor). New York: Fletcher Press, 1994.

Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Susan Stryker and Jim Van Buskirk. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996.

San Francisco Magazine Volume 45, #10. Mike Weiss (Dan White's Last Confession). San Francisco: October 1998.

The Times of Harvey Milk. (Documentary) Rob Epstein/Richard Schmeichen. San Francisco: Black Sand Productions, Inc., Telling Pictures, 1984.

Harvey Milk. (Opera: available on tape and CD) Donald Runnicles, San Francisco Opera, 1996.

San Francisco Art Commission. Harvey Milk, Second Sight. Oct - Dec 1998

San Francisco Public Library, James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center / Harvey Milk / Scott Smith Collection

Gay and Lesbian Historical Society. Newspaper and media sources. San Francisco.

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