The Martin Duberman Reader: The Essential Historical, Biographical, and Autobiographical Writings

Martin Duberman. New Press, $21.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-59558-679-7
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. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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