Lesbian scholar and activist Karla Jay's memoir is rich in sexual detail and family trauma, but may be enjoyed best as a personal history of the turbulent era in which its author came of age. She brings fresh first-hand reports on some of the most pivotal events in the rise of the New Left--from the 1968 student riots at Columbia through the Stonewall riots to the 1970 feminist takeover of the Ladies' Home Journal, which Jay describes as "without a doubt the most successful one-day action taken by the Women's Liberation Movement."
At times nostalgic, at other times clear-eyed and critical, Jay recounts her close involvement with both the Gay Liberation Front and radical feminist groups. In an atmosphere of increasing paranoia (Jay's own phone was tapped, and there is evidence of FBI infiltration of the meetings she attended), she came to terms "with the likelihood that I would spend some part of my life in prison." Enlivened, here and there, by waspish recollections of Rita Mae Brown and other activists, Jay's memoir takes its place beside Jan Clausen's recent Apples and Oranges in tracking the inception of the gay rights movement and the glory days of women's lib. --Regina Marler