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A Queer History of the United States for Young People (ReVisioning…

de Michael Bronski

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10011216,370 (3.5)2
Listed in School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction of 2019 Queer history didn't start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years. It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it's rarely taught in schools or commemorated in other ways. A Queer History of the United States for Young People corrects this and demonstrates that LGBTQ people have long been vital to shaping our understanding of what America is today. Through engrossing narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more, the book encourages young readers, of all identities, to feel pride at the accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before them and to use history as a guide to the future. The stories he shares include those of * Indigenous tribes who embraced same-sex relationships and a multiplicity of gender identities. * Emily Dickinson, brilliant nineteenth-century poet who wrote about her desire for women. * Gladys Bentley, Harlem blues singer who challenged restrictive cross-dressing laws in the 1920s. * Bayard Rustin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s close friend, civil rights organizer, and an openly gay man. * Sylvia Rivera, cofounder of STAR, the first transgender activist group in the US in 1970. * Kiyoshi Kuromiya, civil rights and antiwar activist who fought for people living with AIDS. * Jamie Nabozny, activist who took his LGBTQ school bullying case to the Supreme Court. * Aidan DeStefano, teen who brought a federal court case for trans-inclusive bathroom policies. * And many more! With over 60 illustrations and photos, a glossary, and a corresponding curriculum, A Queer History of the United States for Young People will be vital for teachers who want to introduce a new perspective to America's story.… (mais)
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Oh what a mess of a book. As other reviews have noted, there's a great deal of confusion around language in this book--it doesn't seem to know what to do with trans people in general, conflating trans-ness with sexuality in some parts and separating it with others (which theoretically I'd be fine with except for the inconsistency of it all--it feels more like a mistake than a political move.)

I think my biggest beef with it all (beyond yknow the nationalism of tying up queer history with US history and in particular with American myths about ourselves, which I think we should be questioning, but it also like makes sense given the title,) is the inconsistency overall in methodology with regards to whether or not we can call someone from the past "gay" or "trans." The authors (and I'm unclear how much of this is the original text itself or the way it's been adjusted for "young people" (more on that later)) lay out that we can't do this, which is of course a valid way of approaching queer history, but then in the actual chapters there's a lot of flopping back and forth on whether or not we can claim a history from these people. As an example, when talking about Emily Dickinson, the text reads "However she may have thought of herself, Emily Dickinson was certainly a woman who loved other women." It all feels very like trying to have your cake and eat it too, and while I understand the tension--to offer youth a history grounded in an awareness of the way that our ideas about sex and sexuality have changed over time--I don't think this is a good way of approaching it (and I think settling a history in individuals is also a bad way of going about it, but yknow here we are I guess.)

The other issue I have is who this book is aimed at. I assumed (and picked up the book based on the idea that) this book is aimed at young teens, maybe ages 12+. The book itself seems to indicate it's aimed at people in their late teens and early twenties--not in terms of how the language is written (I still thought it was aimed at 12 year olds reading it!) but with an actual phrasing that comes late in the text. And while I wouldn't discourage an 18 year old from reading this book (I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading anything!) I think you can probably read a much better queer history book for adults and get a better sense of the history.

Overall this was most disappointing because young people deserve better than this! I haven't yet found a good replacement (and I might have to write it >.>) but I wouldn't recommend this, especially as the first contact a person might have with queer history. ( )
  aijmiller | Aug 24, 2021 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
A Queer History of the United States for Young People, published in 2019 by Beacon Press, is an adaptation by Richie Chevat of Michael Bronski's 2011 Stonewall Book Award-winning work A Queer History of the United States. Not having read Bronski's original work, I'm uncertain if some of the flaws that exist in Chevat's adaptation are simply carried over from the source material, but I suspect that may be case in at least some instances — essentially, A Queer History of the United States for Young People has not been adapted or updated enough to reflect more recent developments in the conversations surrounding queer identities. Though to be fair, this is and will always be something of a moving target and difficult to successfully achieve.

For a work that rightfully emphasizes the importance of language and careful use of words and terminology, A Queer History of the United States for Young Pepole frustratingly does not always follow those professed ideals. As a result, the book is not nearly as inclusive as it could, needs, or intends to be. For example, some of the definitions used are incomplete, lacking in necessary nuance, or are quite simply wrong (e.g. "transgender" is not a term meaning a person who is attracted to another person of the same sex). A Queer History of the United States for Young People handles some queer identities fairly well — in particular those of gay men and lesbians — but it sometimes struggles with conveying a thorough understanding other marginalized groups, especially people who are gender-nonconforming, asexual, or have more fluid or liminal identities.

Even so, A Queer History of the United States for Young People, while at times infuriating, also has its good points and its intentions are certainly commendable. The writing is approachable and accessible, offering biographical sketches of more than thirty notable queer figures in United States history from the 1500s through the 2000s. I loved learning about these people and the historical context of their lives. I was previously aware of some of the figures chosen to be featured in the book while other I was encountering for the first time — people I look forward to learning even more about. While I wouldn't hand A Queer History of the United States for Young People to a reader without some caveats or the intention to incorporate it into a larger conversation, the work does have the potential to be a great starting place (an emphasis on starting place) for discovering how queer history is United States history. ( )
1 vote PhoenixTerran | Jan 30, 2020 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
A review of this interesting little book needs to lead off with a couple of disclaimers. First off, this isn't really a "queer history," per se -- rather, it's mostly a series of 30-odd vignettes about noteworthy folks in American history who (probably, at least) happened to be queer. Secondly, the book professes to be "for young people" ... and while the essays serve as a great Queer History primer for anyone who's middle school-age or above, it's written in a style that would make the subject interesting and accessible to many adults, as well.

The biographical vignette themselves are balanced and straightforward, and accurate as far as I can tell. The subject-matter balance isn't perfect, due in part to the way sexuality was known and expressed over time -- more people of letters in the earlier years, and more social and political activists in later years. Most of the individual stories are pretty intriguing, though, and the format makes it easy to pick up the book during a few spare minutes, and read one free-standing story at a time. When you're made it through them all, it would be hard not to capture the main message of the volume -- that queer folks have been an integral part of our society and culture from the beginning.

For that, this book gets five stars from me. Reading some of the other reviews, I honestly think it's a little sad and misguided that some other folks see this book as exclusionary and insufficient. I disagree with that view pretty strongly, and it reminds me that in this social-media age, it's pretty much impossible to write or do *anything* without pissing at least someone off. But so it goes. ( )
  MarkHufstetler | Nov 3, 2019 |
Lots of great historical information. I think it would be a great read for anyone, especially if you have any interest in the subject. ( )
  cougargirl1967 | Sep 22, 2019 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I was really not aware of how far back in history A Queer History of the United States for Young People would delve, or that it would cover LBGTQ history in so many cultures. I have no young person in my family and got this book for myself, to better educate me on the subject. That said, it is not a book that I can just sit and read, but will pick it up from time to time to learn from. I received A Queer History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. ( )
  PeggyK49 | Sep 19, 2019 |
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Listed in School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction of 2019 Queer history didn't start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years. It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it's rarely taught in schools or commemorated in other ways. A Queer History of the United States for Young People corrects this and demonstrates that LGBTQ people have long been vital to shaping our understanding of what America is today. Through engrossing narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more, the book encourages young readers, of all identities, to feel pride at the accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before them and to use history as a guide to the future. The stories he shares include those of * Indigenous tribes who embraced same-sex relationships and a multiplicity of gender identities. * Emily Dickinson, brilliant nineteenth-century poet who wrote about her desire for women. * Gladys Bentley, Harlem blues singer who challenged restrictive cross-dressing laws in the 1920s. * Bayard Rustin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s close friend, civil rights organizer, and an openly gay man. * Sylvia Rivera, cofounder of STAR, the first transgender activist group in the US in 1970. * Kiyoshi Kuromiya, civil rights and antiwar activist who fought for people living with AIDS. * Jamie Nabozny, activist who took his LGBTQ school bullying case to the Supreme Court. * Aidan DeStefano, teen who brought a federal court case for trans-inclusive bathroom policies. * And many more! With over 60 illustrations and photos, a glossary, and a corresponding curriculum, A Queer History of the United States for Young People will be vital for teachers who want to introduce a new perspective to America's story.

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