“A wonderful introduction to Duberman’s writing but is also a fitting tribute to a man who has devoted his life to promoting social change” (Publishers Weekly).
For the past fifty years, prize-winning historian Martin Duberman’s groundbreaking writings have established him as one of our preeminent public intellectuals. Founder of the first graduate program in LGBT studies in the country, he is perhaps best known for his biographies of Paul Robeson, Lincoln Kirstein, and Howard Zinn—works that have been hailed as “magnificent” (USA Today), “enthralling” (The Washington Post), “splendid” and “definitive” (Studs Terkel, Chicago Sun-Times), and “refreshing and inspiring” (The New York Times).
Duberman is also an equally gifted playwright and essayist, whose piercingly honest memoirs Cures: A Gay Man’s Odyssey and Midlife Queer have been called “witty and searingly candid” (Publishers Weekly), “wrenchingly eloquent” (Newsday), and “a moving chronicle” (The Nation). His writings have explored the shocking attempts by the medical establishment to “cure” homosexuality; Stonewall, before and after; the age of AIDS; the struggle for civil rights; the fight for economic and racial justice; and Duberman’s vision for reclaiming a radical queer past from the creeping centrism of the gay movement.
The Martin Duberman Reader assembles the core of Duberman’s most important writings, offering a wonderfully comprehensive overview of our lives and times—and giving us a crucial touchstone for a new generation of activists, scholars, and readers.
“A deeply moral and reflective man who has engaged the greatest struggles of our times with an unflinching nerve, a wise heart, and a brilliant intellect.” —Jonathan Kozol
For the past 50 years, prize-winning historian Duberman has forcefully and eloquently moved us to consider the legacy of engaged social activism through his plays; biographies of Paul Robeson, Lincoln Kirstein, and Howard Zinn; and his political and autobiographical writings. The writings all previously published collected in this thoughtful anthology range from his earliest reflections on "black power and the American radical tradition," and the Stonewall riots, to thoughts on "pleasuring the body and gay male culture" and excerpts from his memoirs, Cures and Midlife Queer. In an essay on Donald Webster Cory's book, The Homosexual in America, for example, Duberman marvels that 60 years after first publication, the heart of Cory's thesis that "hard and fast categories such as homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual" are central to queer theory. In his typically energetic and colorful prose, Duberman describes Cory: "The themes of contingency, change, and fluidity being sounded in 1951 by a frail, gnome-like perfume salesman, trapped in a quixotic body, pulled in the deeper recesses of his being between anarchic Dionysian desires and the ordered virtues of Apollonian civics...." This collection not only serves as a wonderful introduction to Duberman's writing but is also a fitting tribute to a man who has devoted his life to promoting social change.