Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge
Fire and The Rise of Gay Liberation
by Robert W. Fieseler
343 pages, $26.95
THE SUBTITLE of Robert W. Fieseler’s new book about the fire in a New Orleans gay bar that killed 32 people on June 24, 1973, is “The Untold Story,” but in fact there have been several renditions of this story already: John Townsend’s Let The Faggots Burn (2011), Clayton Delery-Edwards’ The Up Stairs Lounge Arson (2014), Frank Perez’ In Exile (2012), a history of gay bars in New Orleans, and Robert Camina’s 2017 documentary Upstairs Inferno. But evidently Fieseler felt there was more to tell, or he would not have spent several years interviewing survivors and searching through archives before piecing the story together in his own, very moving book.