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Let the Faggots Burn: The Upstairs Lounge Fire Paperback – August 15, 2011


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Let the Faggots Burn: The Upstairs Lounge Fire + In Exile: The History and Lore Surrounding New Orleans Gay Culture and Its Oldest Gay Bar
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (August 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1614344531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614344537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In Let the Faggots Burn author Johnny Townsend restores this tragic event to its proper place in LGBT history and reminds us that the victims of the blaze were not just 'statistics,' but real people with real lives, families, and friends."    Jesse Monteagudo, The Bilerico Project

In Let the Faggots Burn, "Townsend's heart-rending descriptions of the victims...seem to [make them] come alive once more." Kit Van Cleave, OutSmart Magazine

Customer Reviews

The subject is one element of the volume's notable qualities.
Walter Jones
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in LGBT history or unsolved arson cases.
Sheri L. Wright
Extremely well written and organized I felt like I knew the people in the book.
ZinaMarie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Wesley B. Jackson on August 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the story of the largest mass-killing of gay people in the US and the most deadly fire in the history of New Orleans--which had previously burned totally to the ground twice in its earlier history. I lived in New Orleans twice and never knew the extent of the fire-bombing of the Upstairs Lounge, but lately, with the Skylar Fein art exhibit and this book by Johnnie Townsend, the word is spreading. The author was able to track down a number of the survivors and saves the climax (the actual fire) til near the end of the book. I thought that added to the build-up as I reached the end. The reader can be grateful that Mr Townsend did the research and the bios of the people that he did, as many have died off in the interim due to old age or whatever. I recommend the book if for no other reason than it is the only published account currently available, and by way of the internet, more and more people are being drawn to the story. This is a good primer.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Walter Jones on February 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Johnny Townsend's "Let the Faggots Burn: The UpStairs Lounge Fire" (2011)is an exceptional book. The subject is one element of the volume's notable qualities. It is about gay people who are caught in a tragic fire that was intentionally set in a New Orleans' gay bar in 1973. More than thirty people died in this fire. A second element of the book's real value is Johnny Townsend's tone. The book shows compassion, understanding and love for those who died and for their relatives. Townsend produces an enormous amount of detail about the human beings involved in the tragedy and its aftermath. He exposes terrible insensivity and incredible suffering. "Let the Faggots Burn" is testimony to how destructive hate and discrimination can be. Further, it is a sign of hope that perhaps times are now changing because to read his book, nearly 40 years after the fire,is gratefying in that our nation has passed a hate-crime law and communities like my own Salt Lake City, Utah has passed nondiscrimination ordinances that make LGBTQ community feel more welcomed and wanted and appreciated. "Let the Faggots Burn" is hard to read because of the subject. It nearly brought tears to my eyes, and yet it is good to beleive that Townsend's historic writing about the New Orleans' fire is a sucessful attempt to cast off a cloak that masks our country's need for better treatment of all peoples. He is to be commended for having the courage and the skill to produce this work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RJ on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a disturbing book. I am thankful for the personal stories of all the victims of this tragedy. While the events happened over 30 years ago, it is just as relevant today. The responses of the general public and religious leaders will anger you. This must NEVER happen again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Johnson on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Townsend captures the essence of the horror that took place in New Orleans in June 1973. The reader gets to know the victims as human beings and not just as statistics of a fatal fire. The author also details the bigoted aftermath of the fire. All said and done, the book is a riveting account of the human condition...the good, the bad and the ugly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Melancon on April 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love the fact that this horrible event will not die, like the members of our community did.
The younger generation should read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sheri L. Wright on October 2, 2013
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Thank goodness for Johnny Townsend! His book is not only a compelling and well-researched read, it's also an important part of LGBT history. The story about The UpStairs Lounge fire was neglected for too long. Mr. Townsend's book filled in that gap superbly by giving voice to the victims, survivors and community. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in LGBT history or unsolved arson cases.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dodger712 on December 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I guess I gave 5 Stars due to the history and background the author was able to acquire despite the passage of time. Being a native of Louisiana, this event has interested me since i encountered a fictionalized version in one of N. O. author Greg Herren's mysteries. Townsend gives insight into WHO the victims were not just the fire itself. At a few points the sentence structure is a bit strange to me but that aside this book has been engrossing and Townsend doesn't shy away from reporting some of the uglier reactions by city residents (such as someone repeatedly removing flowers left at the bar in memorial, failure to include information about this fire in a museum show about major New Orleans fires, and unfeeling responses by others like the drag queen told by a State worker that she, the drag queen, should have been in the bar and died too). But he also documents the caring acts by strangers toward the victims, both dead and horribly injured survivors. With 33 deaths there are a LOT of "characters" to keep track of but I feel, due to the details /background given about most, as if I knew them. My one regret is that Townsend did not include candid photos of the people or of the building in the aftermath of the fire. An interesting read and a good documentation of this event. Well worth checking this out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ZinaMarie on October 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely well written and organized I felt like I knew the people in the book. Author brought them to life. Excellent
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Johnny Townsend earned an MFA in fiction writing from Louisiana State University. He has published stories and essays in Newsday, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Humanist, The Progressive, The Army Times, Christopher Street, The Massachusetts Review, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and in the anthologies Queer Fish, Off the Rocks, and In Our Lovely Deseret: Mormon Fictions. He has spoken in New Orleans about the UpStairs Lounge fire on the 25th anniversary of the fire. He has also spoken at the Sunstone symposium in Salt Lake on the subject of gay Mormon literature. His book, "The Abominable Gayman," about a gay Mormon missionary in Italy, was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2011. His books, "Marginal Mormons," "The Mormon Victorian Society," and "Dragons of the Book of Mormon," were named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012, 2013, and 2014.

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