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

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

by Martin Duberman
     
 

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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

Overview


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 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Martin Duberman Reader:
"A provocative collection that is thoughtful in both scope and attention to detail."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“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.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise for Martin Duberman:
"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

"Duberman is an unapologetic, uncategorizable, and non-sectarian radical whose constant questioning of conventional wisdoms—even on the left—has made him one of this country's preeminent participants in the political and cultural wars that have riven public life."
—Doug Ireland

"Martin Duberman is known for his unique combination of talents—as a distinguished historian, a talented writer, and an impassioned advocate of gays and other beleaguered members of the human community."
—Howard Zinn

Kirkus Reviews
Selections from the prolific writings of the prize-winning author and dramatist. Born in 1930, Duberman (History Emeritus/CUNY Graduate School; Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left, 2012, etc.) has been a participant in, and witness to, many of the significant historical events of the last 50 years. As the founder of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at CUNY and a participant in the development of the movement for gay rights, Duberman's account of the Stonewall riots of 1969 is exemplary of his overall approach, a mix of the historical and the personal. Under the rubric of social and economic justice, he writes about the relationship between individuals and society, along with the struggle for political and personal/sexual freedoms. He discusses the antebellum abolitionist movement and provides thumbnail biographies that frame the question of "normal" vs. "neurotic." Duberman works these themes into his treatment of the civil rights, black nationalist and gay rights movements. The author does not offer broad generalizations, but particular exemplification: the career of Paul Robeson and his struggle against racism, Howard Zinn's involvement with the 1950s civil rights movement in Atlanta, and the actions of the Student National Coordinating Committee, the Gay Academic Union and the National Gay Task Force. He also examines the tragedy of AIDS and the issue of racism in the gay male community, and he offers incendiary thoughts on the death of Ronald Reagan, lionized by most but disdained by the author for his refusal to assist in AIDS research ("Reagan wouldn't lift a finger to foster research or to combat the mounting epidemic in any way. Mr. Compassion couldn't even say the AIDS word") or provide any protection of the civil liberties of minorities. A provocative collection that is thoughtful in both scope and attention to detail.
Library Journal
Duberman (distinguished professor emeritus, history, CUNY Graduate Sch.; Stonewall) compiles excerpts and complete shorter pieces from many of his most thoughtful and thought-provoking writings, arranging them into four major divisions: "History," "Biography," "Memoir," and "Politics and Activism." In this volume covering over half a century of writing, Duberman addresses such wide-ranging topics as slavery in America, radicalism, gay rights, sexual identity, feminism, bioenergetics, the death of Ronald Reagan, and the complex history of the United States and Cuba, with biographies of notable social activists and luminaries within the same arc of subjects. The pieces are as entertaining as they are informative. Duberman has the rare gift of being able to condense a complexity of sources into a readable narrative. Stripped of the editorial apparatus some of them had in their original publication, the pieces make a great introduction to Duberman's larger universe of writings, while some readers will choose to seek out the original publications for the notes and references. VERDICT This collection demonstrates Duberman's diverse interests and understanding of social struggle, American society, and the people and organizations that have influenced and changed it. Recommended for political and social science students, LGBT advocates, and general readers of literary nonfiction.—Mark Manivong, Library of Congress

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595586797
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the CUNY Graduate School, where he founded and for a decade directed the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. The author of more than twenty books, Duberman has won a Bancroft Prize and been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New York City.

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