Victory by Linda Hirshman


18 Critic Reviews

While many readers will admire her enthusiasm, a pronouncement of ultimate victory seems premature at best.


Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit Linda Hirshman details the stunning story of how a resourceful and dedicated minority transformed the notion of American marriage equality and forged a campaign for cultural change that will serve as a model for all future political movements. In the vein of Taylor Branch’s classic Parting of the Waters, Hirshman’s groundbreaking Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution is the powerful story of a massive shift in American culture. Hirshman offers an insider’s view of the crucial struggle that is leading to change, incorporating her unique experiences and insights and drawing upon new interviews—with movement titans such as Frank Kameny and Phyllis Lyon, with next-generation activists such as Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, and with allies including the likes of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—to create a comprehensive, inspiring history of change in our time.

About Linda Hirshman

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A retired labor lawyer and professor, Linda Hirshman is the author of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World; Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex; and A Woman's Guide to Law School. She received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and taught Philosophy and Women's Studies at Brandeis University, specializing in the study of social movements. In recent years, she has appeared on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, various NPR shows and the Colbert Report. She also has written for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Ms., Glamour, Slate, the Daily Beast, and She lives in New York City.
Published June 5, 2012 by Harper. 467 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, History, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Victory
All: 18 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 6


Below average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on May 01 2012

While many readers will admire her enthusiasm, a pronouncement of ultimate victory seems premature at best.

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NY Times

Reviewed by Rich Benjamin on Jun 21 2012

Chief among Hirshman’s strengths is her understanding of power. She gets how mainstream authority in America impels markets, the state, the elite, the media and religious groups to consolidate influence and keep the opposition in check.

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Publishers Weekly

Reviewed by David Kuhn on Feb 27 2012

Undeniably inspiring.

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LA Times

Reviewed by Audrey Bilger on Aug 12 2012

Extremely readable, fast-paced book . . . An enthusiastic narrator.

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The Boston Globe

Reviewed by Kate Tuttle on Jun 17 2012

Sharp and cogent throughout (though Hirshman’s comparisons among rights movements can feel a bit cold-blooded), “Victory” is ultimately a deeply moving narrative of a not-quite-finished freedom struggle.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Bronski on Jun 17 2012

Hirshman's focus on mainstream politics and media is not helped by her extravagant use of superlatives that forgo delicacy of opinion and nuance.

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Reviewed by Craig Seligman on Jul 12 2012

Her book demonstrates that the reversal in social attitudes toward gay men and lesbians, despite various (but always temporary) political and judicial setbacks, is itself irreversible.

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Daily Kos

Reviewed by Chrislove on Sep 18 2012

It's new, somewhat fresh, and a good opportunity for those not well-read in gay history to learn the basics. This is not a downer of a book.

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The New Yorker

Reviewed by Richard Socarides on Jun 22 2012

A remarkable history . . . She has a smart and engaging style, which is serious but not ponderous . . . new clarity and simple, fresh insight.

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Lambda Literary

Reviewed by Heather Seggel on Jul 15 2012

In Hirshman’s telling, this history is heady and rich.

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Windy City Media

Below average
Reviewed by Windy City Media on Oct 31 2012

Lesbian feminism is almost completely missing from Hirshman's discussion of the gay movement.

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After Ellen

Reviewed by Heather Aimee O on Jun 19 2012

Victory is an ambitious, entertaining and highly informative book. The perfect read for Pride month.

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The American Prospect

Below average
Reviewed by E.J. Graff on Jun 07 2012

It takes chutzpah to try to sum up and define the LGBT movement while it’s still living, breathing, and feisty . . . Hirshman ambitiously aims to trace the LGBT movement’s history—focusing most often on the “g” for gay male.

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Biblical Counseling

Below average
Reviewed by David Murray on Jul 18 2012

I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for most Christians; it’s like watching a slow-motion replay of a loved one being murdered.

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Frogen Yozurt

Reviewed by Frogen Yozurt on Jun 23 2012

Written in vivid prose, at once emotional and erudite, Victory is an utterly vibrant work of reportage and eyewitness accounts.

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Shelly's LGBT Book Review Blog

Reviewed by Shelly on Aug 08 2012

Linda Hirshman went out there and pounded pavement and got people to talk. This book is the result and it’s a good one!

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A Gathering of the Tribes

Below average
Reviewed by Gathering of the Tribes on Aug 13 2012

Sound too good to be true? It is . . . the 348 pages of glib-sounding account of homosexuality appear as mainly an urban, male, phenomena. Where are the dykes, the trans, the poor, the rural, and the blacks, the hispanics, the asians? Victory is a muddled book.

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Law Librarian Blog

Reviewed by Law Librarian on Jul 25 2012

Anyone interested in the social, political, and moral struggles of how a truly oppressed group fought the law, and in this case mostly beat it should read Victory.

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admin 27 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5