A Life in History
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Published in: July-August 2023 issue.


by Martin Duberman
Chicago Review Press. 352 pages, $30.

MARTIN DUBERMAN has been an important public intellectual and a major figure in the LGBT movement for many decades. As an openly gay historian, biographer, playwright, activist, organizer, and essayist, he was the founder and first director of clags, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY, and has been a major force for the advancement of LGBT scholarship.

            He has also produced a series of memoirs. The latest, Reaching Ninety, is a summing up of a long and remarkable life as he reaches his ninetieth birthday. In it, he covers some familiar ground—coming out at a time when it was exceedingly difficult to do so (he was born in 1930), his experiences in psychotherapy—but more than in previous memoirs, he’s willing to speak out about matters that he was reluctant to speak of before. At ninety, one imagines, he doesn’t really care if he offends anyone or if someone disapproves.

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H. N. Hirsch, emeritus professor of politics at Oberlin College, is the author of the novel Fault Line and the memoir Office Hours.


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