The Jewish Chronicle newspaper reports on a new biography of Harvey Milk, out in time for the fortieth anniversary of his assassination. Lillian Faderman, the acclaimed lesbian reviewer and woman of letters, has turned her pen to understand the background to Milk and how he became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. Although he rejected organised religion, Faderman argues that Milk was acutely aware of his Jewish heritage and the persecution of the European Jews was something that provided movitation for his work in uniting diverse communities in San Francisco under a rainbow banner - the first rainbow flag incidentally, would be flown at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978. Like the designer of that emblem, Gilbert Baker, Milk also graduated through the hippie movement to get involved in progressive politics with his small camera shop serving as a hub for political activism. Finally, unlike previous accounts of Harvey Milk's life and death, Faderman argues that the murderer Dan White – who was to take his own life in 1985 – was mentally ill rather than motivated by homophobia and racism. The book is available from all good bookstores priced eighteen pounds ninety nine.