The Gentrification of the Mind - Witness to a Lost Imagination Book
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Buried for decades, the Up Stairs Lounge tragedy has only recently emerged as a catalysing event of the gay liberation movement.
In revelatory detail, Robert W. Fieseler chronicles the tragic event that claimed the lives of thirty-one men and one woman on June 24, 1973, at a New Orleans bar, the largest mass murder of gays until 2016.
Relying on unprecedented access to survivors and archives, Fieseler creates an indelible portrait of a closeted, blue- collar gay world that flourished before an arsonist ignited an inferno that destroyed an entire community.
The aftermath was no less traumatic―families ashamed to claim loved ones, the Catholic Church refusing proper burial rights, the city impervious to the survivors’ needs―revealing a world of toxic prejudice that thrived well past Stonewall.
Yet the impassioned activism that followed proved essential to the emergence of a fledgling gay movement.
Tinderbox restores honour to a forgotten generation of civil-rights martyrs.
"Tinderbox is a work of enormous significance that announces the arrival of a gifted new author. Robert Fieseler writes with acuity and compassion about mythic themes--love, faith, death, grief. And as he does so, he chronicles an essential event in gay history, the tragic fire that propelled the movement for social and legal equality."
Samuel Freedman, author of Breaking the Line
"Fieseler's work is an essential piece of historical restitution that takes us from 1973 to 2003, when homosexuality was finally decriminalised in Louisiana. Powerfully written and consistently engaging, the book will hopefully shed more light on the gay community's incredible and tragic journey to equality. A momentous work of sociological and civil rights history.-- "
Kirkus Reviews [Starred Review]"
"Journalist Robert W. Fieseler salvages [an] unsettling moment in American history from the edge of forgetfulness in a remarkable, potent remembrance.... It's indescribably moving to learn in a final author's note that survivors hesitant to speak on the record for Tinderbox came forward with urgency after the Pulse massacre. Their testimonies, Fieseler's rigorous research and his amiable prose make this a vital, inspiring volume in the annals of gay history."
Dave Wheeler "Shelf Awareness"
"Robert W. Fieseler has given us a profoundly moving and deeply researched reminder of the tragic and ghastly costs of bigotry, silence, and the closet. We must never go back. Tinderbox is more than a memorial. It is a call for our ongoing struggle to build movements for love and dignity for everyone everywhere."
Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt, Volumes 1-3
"A vivid, fast-paced, and essential LGBTQ and social history."
Library Journal [Starred Review]