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Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 Paperback – April 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (April 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520244745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520244740
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many people presume San Francisco's gay-friendly character began in the 1970s, but this engaging if sometimes facile social history uncovers sexually tolerant roots that go back much further. Boyd, a women's studies professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, shows that as far back as the Gold Rush of 1849, the city manifested a charmingly lax attitude toward enforcement of public morals-gaining a reputation as a "wide-open town"-and repeatedly resisted civic moralists who tried to enforce antivice laws. By the 1930s and the fall of Prohibition, the city hosted "publicly visible queer cultures and communities" with tourist-friendly nightclubs and bars. While Boyd relies on standard historical texts and sources such as police records for basic city history, the book is deeply informed and enlivened by 42 oral histories she gathered with lesbians and gay men who have lived in San Francisco since the 1930s. Five are partially reprinted here, and this terrific material allows Boyd to explore topics that have traditionally been ignored by gay historians: how drag shows helped stimulate the tourist economy of the city; how its African-American community engendered changes in the structures of the gay community; how a distinct lesbian public space evolved with the advent of such bars as Mona's in the 1930s and '40s; and how the city put itself at the forefront of transgender activism in the 1950s and '60s. Boyd has a keen ear for distinctive details, and it is this (rather than her major contention, that "the politics of everyday life were every bit as important as the politics of organized social movement activism") that drives this welcome study.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"For anyone interested in as-yet-untold queer history, this is a must-read." - New York Blade News "Shows that as far back as the Gold Rush of 1849, [San Francisco] manifested a charmingly lax attitude toward enforcement of public morals - gaining a reputation as a "wide-open town" - Publishers Weekly"

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Student77 on February 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all, I was looking for a book written more along the lines of the George Chauncey's, "Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940". This book is well researched and clearly proves that their was a thriving gay culture in San Francisco well before the Stonewall uprising in New York. The idea that San Francisco was able to sustain a gay community based upon its "wide open" ideology and its status as a shipping port and military base also helped further cement this position as a gay bulwark in America. The only problem I had with this book, is that it covers alot of minutia which makes it somewhat of a laborious read and I found myself skipping ahead. All in all, this is a good book and is priced right for a digital book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary F. Crispi on December 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the book. it is actually a text book for a class at city college of san francisco. thanks
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By t.Ohlhauser on July 15, 2014
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