When We Rise

When We Rise : My Life in the Movement

4.28 (971 ratings by Goodreads)
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Born in 1954, Cleve Jones was part of the last generation of gay people who grew up not knowing if there was anyone else on the entire planet who felt the same way he did. It wasn't until Jones was fourteen, flipping through the pages of Life magazine, when he saw the headline "Homosexuals in Revolt!" followed by several pages of text and photographs of the new gay rights movement, including photos of men marching with fists in the air through the streets of Greenwich Village, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, that he understood that he was part of a larger community. To say Cleve was thrilled to discover this movement is an understatement; it saved his life. In the early 1970s Cleve moved to San Francisco, a city whose beautiful streets, progressive politics, and sexually charged nightlife were drawing in thousands of young gay men every year from towns across America. After some time in Europe, Jones took an internship in Harvey Milk's City Hall office, and Milk would become Cleve's mentor, an experience that would bring Cleve the forefront of the gay rights movement (and make him a witness to Milk's 1978 assassination).
With the onset of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s Jones emerged as one the gay community's most outspoken activists - a role that continues to today. In 1983, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and in 1987 founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the world's largest community arts project. In 2009 he led the National March for Equality in Washington, D.C. From one of the most iconic living LGBTQ activists,WHEN WE RISE is a beautifully written memoir that brings to life the drama and heartbreak of the AIDS crisis - and the lost San Francisco and lost generation of men who came before it.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 30.48mm | 521.63g
  • Hachette Books
  • United States
  • English
  • 0316315435
  • 9780316315432
  • 378,829

Review quote

"When We Rise...brims with fondness, love, lust, inspiration, dedication and tenacity. Older readers will recall each headline-grabbing fight along the way. If I ran the nation's curriculum, it would be required for younger readers."--The Star Tribune "[A] brilliant memoir."
--The Daily Beast "[A] love song to San Francisco ... This unvarnished, uplifting, opinionated memoir is a testament to Jones' courage."--The Bay Area Reporter "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 "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 "An ambrosial read, masterfully interweaving major historical events with juicy personal details of romance and heartbreak."--Mother Jones "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 "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 "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 "Essential reading."--Village Voice "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 "An ode San Francisco.... an inspiring reminder that one can go from 'daydreaming about sex and revolution' to making them reality."--Publishers Weekly "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 "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 "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 "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 "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 "Enlightening.... Unsparing.... Powerful."--Booklist (starred review) "Essential reading." Village Voice" "Enlightening.... Unsparing.... Powerful." Booklist (starred review)"
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About Cleve Jones

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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Rating details

971 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 47% (460)
4 37% (360)
3 13% (127)
2 2% (19)
1 1% (5)
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