Queer Street

The Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985

By James McCourt
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393050516, 577pp.)

Publication Date: November 2003

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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BEGINNING WITH THE INFLUX of liberated veterans into downtown New York in the golden age before McCarthyism. Queer Street tells the explosive story of gay culture in the latter half of the twentieth century. Coming out himself in the "buttonedup/button-down" 1950s. McCourt positions his own experience against the whirlwind history of the era, summoning a pageant of characters that includes Harry Hay, Judy Garland, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, and Truman Capote. In a learned but lively voice, McCourt highlights the major events of the period: the landmark eruption at the Stonewall Inn, the AIDS crisis that brought an end to a century of bathhouse culture, the ascendancy of the Christian right, and finally the social acceptance of gays that paradoxically marked the demise of queer culture. "Not since Truman Capote's Black and White Ball has there been such a gala collection of sacred monsters, feathered masks, icy pearls, chiseled remarks and bitchy mots all in one glamorous setting. ...An astonishing book, at once hilarious and touching."-- J. D. McClatchy

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