Download When We Rise: My Life in the Movement Audiobook

When We Rise: My Life in the Movement Audiobook, by Cleve Jones Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Cleve Jones Narrator: Cleve Jones Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2016 ISBN: 9781478966494
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The partial inspiration for the forthcoming ABC miniseries from Academy Award–winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, executive producer Gus Van Sant, and 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Cleve Jones takes listeners on an extraordinary journey through his life…Jones describes the pain and sorrow in the fight for equality and survival. Listening to Jones tell his story is a singular experience, filling one with hope and wonder as well as sadness and fear. Jones’ story is a great reminder that, despite setbacks, progress has been made in the fight for equality.”


  • “Some people witness history; others 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

  • Essential reading. Village Voice
  • An ambrosial read, masterfully interweaving major historical events with juicy personal details of romance and heartbreak. Mother Jones
  • 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
  • Enlightening.... Unsparing.... Powerful. Booklist (starred review)
  • 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
  • [A] love song to San Francisco ... This unvarnished, uplifting, opinionated memoir is a testament to Jones' courage. The Bay Area Reporter
  • An ode San Francisco.... an inspiring reminder that one can go from 'daydreaming about sex and revolution' to making them reality. Publishers Weekly
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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About the Author

Cleve Jones’ is an activist whosecareer began in San Francisco in 1970s when he befriended pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. After Milk’s death, Jones cofounded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which memorializes over eighty-five thousand Americans who have died from AIDS. He lives in San Francisco and works as a labor activist.