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As June of this year broke I realized I had a gap in my knowledge. The Stonewall riots were an event I knew the importance of and I knew the broad details of but I knew very little of how they came to pass and what happened during them. I’m a believer in knowing about context in history and I decided to fix this. There was no shortage of books to fill the gap but I settled on Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBT Rights Uprising that Changed America. It was well reviewed but the author’s life spoke to me. A life long New York resident, a gay man, a fiery activist for disenfranchised causes and a prolific author. This would be a story dear to him and one he had to get right.

I have no regrets.

There is plenty of broader historical context but this is no text book. The device is not uncommon but Duberman uses six people’s lives as the means to tell the personal story of the events, how lives were impacted. Normally six separate narratives can make a book, fiction or history, difficult to navigate but the humanity of each narrative and engagement Duberman has makes these a lot more than names on the pages. You follow them with the ease of people you actually know.

There is a slight bias. Doberman’s main focus is social justice not pure history but the history is there as is the story as is the injustice. It is accessible, thought provoking and oddly entertaining while telling a story could be terrible and depressing. I had to think about this a lot as I finished the book but then I realized why – these people weren’t just fighting to survive they were fighting to live and they embraced the light while society opposed their mere existence and there is something glorious in that which the book brings to you.


The door to Leto's quarters. You can see his face through the round ship's window.

Leto Armitage was born in America under a set of circumstances that prophesied that he would one day unite the lost tribes and return the Ever Summer. Somewhere around twelve, he realized he had been left unsupervised and binged too many Arthurian movies in his formative years and that he was just another kid who accidentally got an education while reading above his age level.

By the time he turned old enough to get a passport, he started finding excuses to travel determined to find out what culture, food and women there were to experience. After learning to grill in Oaxaca, do kinbaku in Japan, and being banned from several former Soviet block countries, he returned home to settle down and see what damage he could do locally.

After working jobs including being a short order cook, bodyguarding strippers and professionally doing reader’s advisory for erotica he realized the most reasonable path forward was to become a writer. Today he lives with cats, dogs, and humans who seem to like him despite actually knowing him. He prefers to sit on his back deck, listening to the birds and Barry the Bumblebear bee, while he writes cozy, uplit romance and raunchy erotica.


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