cover image Radical Acts: Collected Political Plays

Radical Acts: Collected Political Plays

Martin Duberman. New Press, $18.95 (296pp) ISBN 978-1-59558-407-6

Duberman, Martin. Radical Acts: Collected Political Plays. New Pr, dist. by Norton. Sept. 2008. c.320p. pap. DRAMA~ Biographer, novelist, and essayist Duberman (The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein; Haymarket) here presents four plays that dramatize historical events and vary in their ability to hold the reader's attention. Not an essential purchase for public libraries. It may be of moderate interest to college and university libraries for political science or sociology departments rather than theater collections. Background: ""In White America,"" an ensemble readers' theater piece, Duberman arranges excerpts from primary sources to present black-white race relations from the 18th century to the mid-1960s. ""Mother Earth"" is the story of Emma Goldman's exile from America, her arrival in the Soviet Union, and her disenchantment with Lenin's particular brand of dictatorship. The history is engrossing, but its dramatic representation feels like chunks of court testimony. ""Posing Naked,"" centering on Newton Arvin, a Smith College professor victimized for his homosexuality by the FBI in 1960, is dramatized in a sympathetic and engaging way and feels the most immediate of this collection. ""Visions of Kerouac"" is the true story of the rampaging lusts and loves of your favorite wacky Beat poets.--Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead.