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The Front Runner Hardcover – Dec 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Wildcat Press; 20 Anv edition (Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964109913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964109919
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,001,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor on 14 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
The idea that THE FRONT RUNNER was the first novel to address gay men and their romantic and sexual relationships is myth. A host of novels predate it, including Gore Vidal's 1948 THE CITY AND THE PILLAR and Mary Renault's brilliant 1959 THE CHARIOTEER. By the 1960s gay characters began to crack the bestseller lists with considerable regularity, with Gavin Lambert's INSIDE DAISY CLOVER a case in point. But THE FRONT RUNNER was very much the right book at the right time by the right author--and it would become legendary as the voice of a new generation.
The Stonewall Riots, which marked a turning point in the struggle for equal rights, were barely five years old when THE FRONT RUNNER was published, and few people--including many in the gay community--had any serious context for the story Warren offered. Consequently, Warren took nothing for granted: she created that context through a series of meticulously described backgrounds, something that made the book widely accessible to mainstream readers. And when THE FRONT RUNNER hit the bookstore it proved a revelation for both homosexual and heterosexuals alike: it flew off the shelves, becoming one of the most critically lauded and widely read novels of its decade.
The story concerns Harlan, a college track coach who is rocked out of the closet when three world class athletes land on his doorstep after being expelled for homosexuality from a major university. One of the three is Billy--and Billy is everything that Harlan has both hungered for and feared: a man with whom Harlan could fall in love. Although many regard it as love story pure and simple, THE FRONT RUNNER is really a sociopolitical novel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
This was the first piece of gay literature that I ever read and to be honest anything after this is going to have to be nothing less than phenomenal. I read The Front Runner, to be honest as it was the only book I could get that fit in my coat pocket!!! If I hadn't got to be in work I would have probably read the whole thing from start to finish in one sitting. From the outset with Harlan coming to terms with his own homosexuality to his encounter with his three "young birds" one of whom helps him discover love. Their journey together with all the trials and happiness which culminates in what has to be one of the most poignant and heart wrenching pieces of writing I've ever read, its the first book that has ever made me cry put it that way. What makes this book so special is that there is a character in it for everyone to identify with be it Harlan the initially repressed homosexual, Billy who is calm and and happy who he is, the passionate Vince who is passionatein more ways than or the shy, quiet and vulnerable Jacques. This is a story for everyone. If you like love storys then this is for you. What are you waiting for...BUY IT!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. The characters are so real and so complex that I can't help but admire them all. From the insecurity of Harlan, quiet confidence of Billy, tough exterior but passionate interior of Vince, and confusion in Jaques. It is a book full of love and hope and i read through it laughing and crying at the fortunate and unfortunate instances in Harland and Billy's love life and their fight for justice. I find it wonderfully sweet the way they slowly find out about their love for one another. They approach life with confidence and serenity and i feel that I have really learnt something from this book. The end is shattered with sadness and it really shows how much one human can love another human. The ending of this book is made complete with the idea that the end is not necessarily the end, but could as well be the new beginning. Still, I cried my heart out last night and I am sure that this book will remain in my mind for some time to come. It is very powerful, grabbing, real and incredibly sweet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nat NI on 15 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of gay literature that I have ever read. After the first few pages I was hooked and finished the book in 2 days. It tell's the story of Harlan a tough ex-marine now coaching track at an American college. He takes in 3 young athletes when they are ostracised from their previous college. The book tells the story of how Billy and Harlan fall in love, and the devastating price to be paid for that love. If this book does not move you, you have a heart of stone.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book on the recommendation of my brother, he says it is his favourite book and I can see why. The first thing I would say is don't read this if you want an easy read - though beautifully written, nothing about this book is easy. It is however heartbreaking.

This book reads so like an actual auto-biography I had to check that it was indeed fiction. Written from the first person perspective of Harlan Brown, it tells us of his uneasy acknowledgement and eventual acceptance of his sexuality in the late 50's to 70's.
Brought up as a man of strict religion and 'high moral code' this ex-marine has a hard time accepting that he is gay. The one passion in his life he is able to indulge is running, it is while he coaches track at college that he meets the love of his life Billy Sive.

This story is about the fight for human rights. Simply because he is gay Billy, a supremely talented athlete, and Harlan have to fight every step of the way to be able to compete at athletic meets and eventually the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. It is also about an athlete's personal fight to be able to give the best performance they can. And lastly, but most certainly not least, it is about love and fighting your own demons.

The fight that Harlan and Billy faced was made all the more poignant and difficult because they didn't want to fight. They wanted to love and run, it really wasn't asking for the world. I don't think they really even cared what people thought of them if only they were left alone. Aren't these rights we should all be allowed, whoever we are?

This book does not have a happy ending but I am not sorry I read it. Please everyone read this book.
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