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Publisher's Summary

The partial inspiration for the forthcoming ABC miniseries from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and executive producer Gus Van Sant, starring Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Carrie Preston, and Rachel Griffiths.

From longtime activist Cleve Jones, here is a sweeping, beautifully written memoir about a full and remarkable American life. Jones brings to life the magnetic spell cast by 1970s San Francisco, the drama and heartbreak of the AIDS crisis and the vibrant generation of gay men lost to it, and his activist work on labor, immigration, and gay rights, which continues today.

Born in 1954, Cleve Jones was among the last generation of gay Americans who grew up wondering if there were others out there like himself. There were. As did thousands of young gay people, Jones moved to San Francisco in the early '70s, nearly penniless, finding a city electrified by progressive politics and sexual liberation. Jones met lovers, developed intense friendships, and found his calling in "the movement".

Jones dove into politics and activism, taking an internship in the office of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who became Jones' mentor before his murder in 1978. With the advent of the AIDS crisis in the early '80s, Jones emerged as one of the gay community's most outspoken leaders. He cofounded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and later the AIDS Memorial Quilt, one of the largest public art projects in history.

©2016 Cleve Jones (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"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 best-selling author of the Tales of the City series)
"Enlightening.... Unsparing.... Powerful." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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It's a Blue Whale! Oh, Mary don"t ask!

I purchased the Audible version and have listened to it on my daily walks. From the second chapter I got sad knowing that I would eventually come to the ending and wouldn't be able to hear it for the first time ever again. Today, that day came and i'm missing it already. I would recommend the audio version as Mr. Jones is an engaging speaker and it's always great to hear someone reading their own work. It made my daily (sometimes monotonous) walks fly by.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • Colorado, USA
  • 12-04-16

Inspiring!

I listened to Cleve's interview on Fresh Air w/ T. Gross. I was so captivated I then listened to Cleve's memoir. I was not disappointed. Many of the events happened in my childhood and were brought into full color and texture by Cleve's writing. The depth of the struggles and the remarkable courage to confront them is inspiring!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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History

So many things we owe thanks for. This book shares many of those things. I am a better person for having listened. If you are interested in where we started and how we got here, look no further! 🏳️‍🌈

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Essential reading

A heart-rending historical and personal account of the gay rights movement and the AIDS crisis. This book is essential reading for any involved in politics or activism of any kind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Required reading for every activist!

This memoir is at once both magnificently beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking.

It begins with a colorful and fascinating recounting of his youth in San Francisco and his fearless and eye-opening travels abroad. I believe that he lived more life in his 20s than most of us will in an entire lifetime.

Cleve then goes on to paint a picture of the terrible fear and devastation that AIDS brought to the community. It is impossible to read this section without tears.

The post-AIDS crisis section is markedly more optimistic and provides a quick look at the political progress of the last decade or so.

I have been an LGBTQ activist for over a decade, and I still learned so much from this book! Cleve Jones is a living civil rights legend, and I hung on every word of this brilliant memoir.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Be forewarned...

This is a memoir...not a history of the movement. Overall, it was good, especially the parts about the origins of the rainbow flag, the quilt, and the making of the movie Milk.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful and powerful and should motivate all to act

Exceptionally well performed by Cleve Jones. Insightful and sad yet victorious story of struggle told with humility, passion and hope.

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Meh~

Had to read this book for a college cource on Deviance. Maybe it was the repetative nature of the authors actions or maybe it was just because I didn't want to read for the class but it was alittle repetative with the drug use story line. However this was also very motivatuonal and someones life. Though I probably wont read it again it was alright for a one time read.

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Needs a proper narrator

What didn’t you like about Cleve Jones’s performance?

Cleve Jones has written a great book, but, sorry, he isn't a narrator. It felt like he was reading a book report for school. His reading lacked drama. He read the story but the story demanded a performance. Narration is a skill, just like any other form of performance. Just because Cleve Jones wrote an excellent book, and it is his own life story, that doesn't necessarily mean he's the best equipped to narrate it.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the TV version of 'When we rise' and thought the book might capture the times and the people even more. That was largely true, but the lack of dramatic performance in the narration was too disappointing for me to persevere with it.

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Cleve’s book is riveting and timely for people to know who came before them

When We Rise is a heartwarming reflection of one mans part of the movement that gave many freedoms to those fortunate today. It shows how the pendulum swings and continues to do so. The authors tale of the aids epidemic is touching and sad. So many wonderful souls lost during a very scary time in the world. I highly recommend this book to all who want to know a bit about those that stood up for equality and justice so that some may have freedom today. It also shows that the fight is not over. The fight continues and others can model what Cleve and others have done. Bravo.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-18

Inspiring

I don’t think any words can describe the beauty and raw value of this book. Thank you Cleve for sharing and also educating a new generation.

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  • Richard Gallagher
  • 02-23-18

Stunning!!

Brilliantly written and brutally honest.
Tear jerking, poignant and political memoir.
Thank you Cleve.
Thank you for your tireless work.