David Wojnarowicz's brief but eventful life was not easy. From a suburban adolescence marked by neglect, drugs, prostitution, and abuse to a squalid life on the streets of New York City, to fame - and infamy - as an activist and controversial visual artist whose work was lambasted in the halls of Congress, all before his early death from AIDS at age thirty-seven, Wojnarowicz seemed to be at war with a homophobic "establishment" and the world itself. Yet what emerged from the darkness was a truly extraordinary artist and human being.
In the Shadow of the American Dream is a stunning collection of riveting and revealing chapters from Wojnarowicz's extensive personal diaries - 30 volumes' worth of memories and lucid observations, some bitter, some sweet - that the author began writing when he was 17 and continued until his death two decades later. Here is a brilliant chronicle of an artist's emergence - a young man's still achingly fresh memories of his unhappy adolescence and his glorious discovery of self.