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Waiting to Land: A (Mostly) Political Memoir, 1985-2008

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"Although best known for his acclaimed biographies, historian Martin Duberman is also a renowned memoirist who has plumbed his own life for truths that have meaning for us all. In the bestselling Cures, he carried his story up to 1970, focusing on his fear that homosexuality was pathological and on his desperate search for a therapeutic cure. Duberman's second autobiographical book, Midlife Queer, centered on the 1970s, by which time he'd thrown off his earlier doubts and become fully engaged in the worlds of gay politics and culture." "Waiting ...
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Overview

"Although best known for his acclaimed biographies, historian Martin Duberman is also a renowned memoirist who has plumbed his own life for truths that have meaning for us all. In the bestselling Cures, he carried his story up to 1970, focusing on his fear that homosexuality was pathological and on his desperate search for a therapeutic cure. Duberman's second autobiographical book, Midlife Queer, centered on the 1970s, by which time he'd thrown off his earlier doubts and become fully engaged in the worlds of gay politics and culture." "Waiting to Land takes Duberman's story up to the present day. As his public engagement deepens, Duberman finds himself increasingly at odds with the mounting assimilationism of the mainstream gay movement - and with the left itself, which Duberman has come to believe is smugly oblivious to the realities of gay life. Disaffection leads him to till crucial new ground, including the founding of the groundbreaking Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) and serving as an original board member of Queers for Economic Justice." Interweaving diary entries with letters and with reflections written in 2008, Waiting to Land incisively probes issues of crucial import for everyone. By turns moving, funny, provocative, and profound, this book is an unflinchingly honest and deeply important window into an extraordinary life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595584403
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 1.14 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Longing for the return of the Left

    Martin Duberman is generally viewed as one of the most important social philosophers of our time, and as with every philosopher of distant past, recent past, and present he has his agenda, concentrating his thoughts on a specific area of discussion. And for Duberman this arena is the gay/homosexual/queer state of being. He is a gifted writer and has courageously written books that detail his own 'coming out' - from the trials of denial and therapy to change himself, to the agony of becoming part of what he once dreaded, to being one of our most outspoken and sensitive gay rights activists. Look is name up in the dictionary and you will find the following distillation of his accomplishments: 'Martin Bauml Duberman (born August 6, 1930) is an American historian, philosopher, playwright, and gay-rights activist. He is the Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York and was the founder and first director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate School. He has authored over twenty books including James Russell Lowell (a National Book Award finalist), Paul Robeson, Stonewall, and the memoir 'Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey'. He is also a neoabolitionist scholar, as evidenced by his edited collection of essays, 'The Antislavery Vanguard'. His play 'In White America' won the Vernon Rice/Drama Desk Award for Best Off-Broadway Production in 1963.' Now, with all of his achievements well documented he offers this book WAITING TO LAND, which chronicles his steps in the political direction from the year 1985 to 2008.

    After a richly detailed introduction he jumps into his topic with what at first glance seems to be a series of diary entries, carefully adding italicized sentences that show his own editing of entries that need further clarification. Mixed with these closely personal statements about the changes that have occurred in gay life - becoming more mainstream and acceptable through the usual American means of incorporating gay characters into our novels, our films, our television programs, and our watered down political activist groups - are essays that more directly and more succinctly outline his arguments and issues.

    Duberman sees this assimilation from the protestor's stance: surrender your uniqueness and become a watered down acceptable droid that no longer has to stand for the ideals of the pioneers of the movement. This stance has caused many a debate on the political front, but Duberman insists that without pride and commitment to self and individuality that the struggle will dilute until the old stereotypes revert a strong movement into a shadow of misunderstanding and bland sameness to our culture. As he has stated in other places 'I'm deeply committed to ending the era of gay apologetics. But we need to be on guard against the temptation to replace it with an era of extravagant self-congratulation.'

    Martin Duberman is a brilliant philosopher and social theorist, and as such he has created both fans and detractors from both sides of his debates. But one aspect of Duberman that at times goes unnoticed - that he is a very fine literary mind and is able to write cogent arguments and do so eloquently - is corrected by cacareful reading of this book. He is a brilliant man, unafraid to stir discontent among the public, and he deserves wide attention.

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