Schulman draws from her experience living as a poor queer in New York during the AIDS genocide to explain the history of physical gentrification of neighborhoods and how that has led to social indoctrination. This was exactly the kind of book that I, as a young(ish) queer interested in radical activism, needed to read in order to better understand how the world we live in came to be.
— From Avery
In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism. Schulman takes us back to her Lower East Side and brings it to life, filling these pages with vivid memories of her avant-garde queer friends and dramatically recreating the early years of the AIDS crisis as experienced by a political insider. Interweaving personal reminiscence with cogent analysis, Schulman details her experience as a witness to the loss of a generation’s imagination and the consequences of that loss.
About the Author
Sarah Schulman, Distinguished Professor of English at CUNY, Staten Island, is the author of nine novels, five books of nonfiction, plays, and films.
“This bracing, powerful, and well-reasoned work reaffirms the author’s stature as a distinctive American woman of letters. . . . Highly recommended.”
— Richard Drezen
“The book that’s inspired me more than any other this year is Sarah Schulman’s Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, a razor-sharp memoir of New York in the heyday of the AIDS crisis.”
— Jason King
“Teeming with ideas, necessary commentary, refreshing connections and examination of the status quo.”
— Lambda Literary
“A brilliant critique of contemporary culture. . . . This is the most important book of the year.”
— Jeff Miller
“Schulman’s personal recollections... are sharp and vivid.”
— Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide
“This is a very good, very sad book about the aftershock of the AIDS crisis in New York. Schulman is a truly gifted thinker.”
— Alex Frank
“The author, a true woman of letters, makes a persuasive case.”
— Roberto Friedman
“This is why the book is so successful and demands our attention: through a focus on the pulse of the queer community (of the 80s), it touches upon the individual condition (of today).”
— Marcie Bianco
“A polemic, a passionate, provocative . . . account of disappearance, forgetfulness and untimely death.”
— Olivia Laing
"The most rousing thing I've read this year."
— Jessa Crispin
"It's that time of year, when everyone is compiling their Best Of 2013 lists. . . . Do we even need to say again, that Sarah Schulman wins the year with Gentrification of the Mind?"
— Jessa Crispin
“It’s a beautifully written screed (not a bad word in my books). . . . Schulman shines when she taps her deep knowledge of the AIDS movement. . . . She can be brilliant.”
— Susan G. Cole
“No book has rocked my world in recent times more than Sarah Schulman’s ‘The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination’ . . . [it ranks] among the best alternative histories published in the last 50 years.”
— Don Shewey
“A galvanizing account of the transformation, both external and mental, in New York City life.”
— Emily Douglas
“The essence of what Schulman calls gentrification is to pretend that privilege and difference do not exist and that any attempt to remember that they do is mere ‘political correctness’ rather than facing up to the reality to who does what to whom. To forget these things, is to deceive ourselves—and Schulman’s harsh, bitter prose is a useful way of waking ourselves up.”
— Roz Kaveney