The Journalist of Castro Street

The Life of Randy Shilts
Author: Andrew E. Stoner
The new biography of an iconic and controversial figure
Cloth – $110
Paper – $22.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 06/10/2019
Cloth: 06/10/2019
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About the Book

As the acclaimed author of And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts became the country's most recognized voice on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His success emerged from a relentless work ethic and strong belief in the power of journalism to help mainstream society understand not just the rising tide of HIV/AIDS but gay culture and liberation.

In-depth and dramatic, Andrew E. Stoner's biography follows the remarkable life of the brash, pioneering journalist. Shilts's reporting on AIDS in San Francisco broke barriers even as other gay writers and activists ridiculed his overtures to the mainstream and labeled him a traitor to the movement, charges the combative Shilts forcefully answered. Behind the scenes, Shilts overcame career-threatening struggles with alcohol and substance abuse to achieve the notoriety he had always sought, while the HIV infection he had purposely kept hidden began to take his life.

Filled with new insights and fascinating detail, The Journalist of Castro Street reveals the historic work and passionate humanity of the legendary investigative reporter and author.

About the Author

Andrew E. Stoner is an associate professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento. His books include Campaign Crossroads: Presidential Politics in Indiana from Lincoln to Obama.


"A major contribution to gay history." --Booklist

"The Journalist of Castro Street is a moving biography of a journalist and his life's work. . . . This is an excellent piece of writing." --Seattle Book Review

"The Journalist of Castro Street is the result of copious research and interviewing." --The Gay & Lesbian Review

"The first-ever biography of the acclaimed investigative journalist and author captures a complex portrait of Randy Shilts, offering a rare behind-the-scenes glance into his short, yet blazing trajectory through life and (early AIDS and LGBTQ+) journalism." --A&U Magazine

"Well written, comprehensive, and insightful. . . . Highly recommended." --Choice

"A serious account of the life of one of the twentieth century’s most divisive gay figures." --Times Literary Supplement

"[The Journalist of Castro Street] is an important addition to the HIV/AIDS archive, particularly thanks to its careful discussion of political figures like Harvey Milk, George Moscone, Dan White, and Gaëtan Dugas." --Media History

"Stoner has crafted an amazingly exhaustive biography of Shilts . . . Through interviews, oral histories, Shilts’s own journals, and archival materials, Stoner provides a deeper, more nuanced understanding of Shilts, his work, his advocacy, and his legacy." --Journalism History


"Andrew Stoner has masterfully woven a powerful story: well-written, historically grounded, thoughtful, engaging, and important. The Journalist of Castro Street is engrossing yet haunting. It is indispensable for anyone who would understand the early years of the AIDS crisis, the intersection of the epidemic and the news media, and the challenges facing Shilts as the openly gay journalist blazed a trail into the media mainstream. It is not merely a biography of Shilts, it is more."--Edward M. Alwood, former CNN correspondent and author of Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press

"A sympathetic, first-rate narrative of one of the most notable journalists of our time. Stoner captures the passions and imperfections of both the fearless writer and the gay-rights crusader."--Patrick Lee Plaisance, author of Virtue in Media: The Moral Psychology of Excellence in News and Public Relations