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When We Rise: My Life in the Movement Hardcover – November 29, 2016
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"Enlightening.... Unsparing.... Powerful."―Booklist (starred review)
"You could read Cleve Jones's book because you should know about the struggle for gay, lesbian, and transgender rights from one of its key participants-maybe heroes--but really, you should read it for pleasure and joy. It's an incredibly vivid evocation of a bygone era and a poignant story of someone who started out feeling like the only gay person in the world and ended up organizing millions of them. I loved it for the firsthand history, and the crazily great details about drag queens, radical excess, passionate idealism, how to change the world and everything else that matters most."―Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me
"I loved this amazing, inspiring, and sometimes outrageous book. When We Rise is about the building of a movement--and the building of Cleve Jones, who came to San Francisco as a teenage adventurer and transformed into an activist whose contributions helped change the course of gay history."―Gus Van Sant
"Cleve Jones is a history buff who has himself become part of history. He has been at the epicenter of the LGBT movement for over 45 years. Now, in When We Rise, Cleve takes us along on his personal journey in the fight for equal rights--a journey filled with humor, sadness, love and ultimately profound change."―Rob Reiner
"Some people witness history; other actually make it happen. Cleve Jones, by planting himself boldly in the eye of the storm, has succeeded brilliantly at doing both."―Armistead Maupin, New York Times bestselling author of the Tales of the City series
"When We Rise is a song to what's best in us, when we join together in a movement that takes us higher. The story Cleve Jones tells-of a bullied boy from the sun-blasted Arizona suburbs, who finds an extended family among the street kids of San Francisco and then within the gay movement that revolutionized the world-is thrilling to read. The path to freedom is littered with the names of fallen loved ones. But through all the sorrows and setbacks, Jones persevered-and the movement for human liberation that he helped lead still rises."―David Talbot, bestselling author of The Season of the Witch and The Devil's Chessboard
"An ode San Francisco.... an inspiring reminder that one can go from 'daydreaming about sex and revolution' to making them reality."―Publishers Weekly
"In this touching and timely memoir, Cleve relives his fascinating life, from adolescent blunders to his conception of the world-famous AIDS Memorial Quilt."―Brit + Co
"Essential reading."―Village Voice
"Jones takes readers on his thrilling, if perilous, voyage from fey, long-haired teen hitching his way from his home in Arizona to San Francisco, to becoming the mentee of Harvey Milk ... Jones survives San Francisco's viciously homophobic police in the '70s and, later, the AIDS epidemic that took his dearest friends. In the process, he helps mobilize the anguished, fiery momentum of LGBTQ rights in the United States."―Slate
"Sweeping and profoundly moving... At a critical time in our nation's history when many are afraid and so much is uncertain, When We Rise is a pertinent reminder to all to stand up and continue fighting for what we believe in."―Accidental Bear
"Now more than ever we must understand the history of queer activism in order to successfully continue on the legacy of those who came before us... We all need to read [When We Rise]."―Gayletter
"An ambrosial read, masterfully interweaving major historical events with juicy personal details of romance and heartbreak."―Mother Jones
"Powerfully written... Jones is a tireless fighter.... By the end of the book, we practically feel the heartbeat of America, and maybe it's a good heart, one that can accept love for what it truly is--love."―Bookreporter
"A front row seat to history .... Compelling .... A mandatory read for future scholars of LGBT history and for queer millennials to learn about their heritage."―Lambda Literary
"[A] love song to San Francisco ... This unvarnished, uplifting, opinionated memoir is a testament to Jones' courage."―The Bay Area Reporter
"[A] brilliant memoir."
―The Daily Beast
About the Author
Cleve Jones' career as an activist began in San Francisco in 1970s where he befriended pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. After Milk's death, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which memorializes over 85,000 Americans who have died from AIDS. He lives in San Francisco and works as a labor activist.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is much about the shared history of the LGBT struggle here that I was not aware off or only tangentially knew off. Reading this makes me want to look into those forgotten societies and groups that championed the causes of equality and fought for the right to love each other without repercussion.
I feel that generally speaking while it is significantly easier to come out now there is a divide between the struggles of the past- at least to those who are coming into their own now. When We Rise illuminates that connection and reminds us that the battles and wars waged in the not to distant past should not be forgotten as they shape who we are now and the struggles yet to come.
I've been reading books on AIDS lately - "Someone Was Here", by George Whitmore and "How to Survive a Plague" by David France are just two - because I was interested in the "politics" behind the handling of the epidemic in both medical and political terms. Cleve Jones was a long-time associate of Harvey Milk's in San Francisco and worked closely with him in his political campaigns. Jones writes movingly about Milk's assassination in 1978 and the subsequent mourning in the gay community...and in the wider world. Harvey Milk died on the cusp of the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. I've long wondered - and have hoped to read in all three books - how the authors thought Harvey Milk would have handled the outbreak of AIDS? Would his longtime activism and political position in San Francisco given him a voice that would have brought medical, political, and social figures together? I wish someone would write on that exact subject.
But Cleve Jones's memoir is fascinating for what it does include. It's a good, solid account of a man's life spent in living to the full extent possible and giving back to the society that nurtured him. His life wasn't conventional, but that makes it all the more interesting!