Tinderbox

The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation

Non-Fiction - True Crime
384 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Tinderbox is a work of non-fiction in the true-crime sub-genre and was penned by author Robert W. Fieseler. Written for adult audiences due to graphic content, sexual situations, violence, language and discriminatory explicit language, this work is subtitled ‘The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation’. A fascinating history uncovered and held up for its many empowering messages about civil rights, the work is focused on the events of New Orleans in 1973. The underground gay community was rocked by an attack of arson which killed 31 men and one woman, and this touching story recounts not just the tragedy itself, but the aftermath which led to powerful activism and an inspiring uprising for representation and rights.

Author Robert W. Fieseler has created a superb work which is highly important for everyone interested in civil rights history, and indeed everyone else that should be interested in equality and rights. The events of the tragedy of the Up Stairs Lounge are hard-hitting and deeply emotive, portrayed by the author in a frank and raw fashion that presents us with the grim realities. But there is a wonderful balance and juxtaposition to be found in this well-researched work of non-fiction, in the ways that we can now look back upon the importance of activism and standing up against tragedy and attacks of discrimination. Overall, Tinderbox is a highly essential read with much for all generations to learn and comes as a recommended read.