The Rest of It

Hustlers, Cocaine, Depression, and Then Some, 1976–1988

Book Pages: 256 Illustrations: Published: March 2018

Author: Martin Duberman

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs, History > U.S. History

For many, the death of a parent marks a low point in their personal lives. For Martin Duberman—a major historian and a founding figure in the history of gay and lesbian studies—the death of his mother was just the beginning of what became a twelve-year period filled with despair, drug addiction, and debauchery. From his cocaine use, massive heart attack, and immersion into New York's gay hustler scene to experiencing near-suicidal depression and attending rehab, The Rest of It is the previously untold and revealing story of how Duberman managed to survive his turbulent personal life while still playing leading roles in the gay community and the academy.

Despite the hardships, Duberman managed to be incredibly productive: he wrote his biography of Paul Robeson, rededicated himself to teaching, wrote plays, and coedited the prize-winning Hidden from History. His exploration of new paths of scholarship culminated in his founding of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, thereby inaugurating a new academic discipline. At the outset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic Duberman increased his political activism, and in these pages he also describes the tensions between the New Left and gay organizers, as well as the profound homophobia that created the conditions for queer radical activism. Filled with gossip, featuring cameo appearances by luminaries such as Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Vivian Gornick, Susan Brownmiller, Kate Millett, and Néstor Almendros, among many others, and most importantly, written with an unflinching and fearless honesty, The Rest of It provides scathing insights into a troubling decade of both personal and political history. It is a stimulating look into a key period of Duberman's life, which until now had been too painful to share.


"Challenging gay invisibility and confronting anti-gay bigotry among the intelligentsia are key battlefronts on which Marty fought early, bravely and often. The passion of his arguments and efforts is everywhere in the testimony of The Rest of Us." — Lawrence D. Mass, Medium

"Sharp and engaging, with tasteful anecdotes that anchor Duberman not in a historical lineage but firmly within his own personal journey. This highly intelligent book is not just another contribution to gay history; it is also an important pillar in the author's literary biography. A fascinating look into a significant period in the life of a much-loved literary figure." — Kirkus Reviews

"We queers are better off, better informed and better empowered, for Duberman’s astute, engaged lifetime of work. We are also better off for reading The Rest of It, for understanding the beautifully written history of one man, yes, but in effect, a part of the history of us all." — D. Gilson, Lambda Literary Review

"The Rest of It is not a revisionist memoir or the roars of a gay literary lion in winter. It is instead an intimate, revealing, and vibrant account of a writer’s personal struggles with Duberman in top form. Duberman’s account of this pivotal time in GLBTQ history is as sharp as ever...." — Lew J. Whittington, New York Journal of Books

"Duberman is one of America's great intellectuals; all readers can enjoy this well-rounded self-portrait of a tumultuous decade in the life of an important thinker." — David Azzolina, Library Journal

"The Rest of It, a memoir of the years 1976 to 1988, confirms Duberman’s status as one of our most brilliant and essential memoirists. This is clearly a skilled, dedicated historian’s memoir, as it minutely details the writer’s personal life while also grounding us in the political and social turmoil of the time. . . . The Rest of It will engage and enrich readers with its brutally honest examination of one man’s life lived fully. It deserves a place on your bookshelf." — Hank Trout, A&U Magazine

"Duberman's emotionally raw and keenly observant memoir illuminates both his turbulent life and the years when gay publishing began to flower just as AIDS started to devastate its landscape." — Kevin Howell, Shelf Awareness

"Martin Duberman has been a touchstone for a generation of gay men, and, once again, he offers up his life experiences to help us better understand our own. The Rest of It is a lively book; it forces readers to engage with the difficult, often contentious personality of a brilliantly accomplished gay man wrestling with his demons." — Daniel A. Burr, Gay & Lesbian Review

"Filled with tidbits of gossip with appearances by luminaries of the era like Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, The Rest Of Us is a brutally honest examination of a painful period in the writer’s life and career." — The Advocate

“[I] highly recommend this book. It was a pleasure to read, and I learned a great deal about Duberman and the world he inhabited. The book is at times witty, sad, happy, and darkly funny. We urge our students to write history ‘warts and all,’ and Duberman has turned that advice upon himself and produced a book that I am glad to have read.”

— Jerry Watkins, Journal of the History of Sexuality

“Martin Duberman's page-turning account of these dozen years of his life—which were deeply unhappy and riven with major crises—is searing in its honesty, unsparing in its self-criticism, and revealing of things that most people would rather keep to themselves. The Rest of It is an amazingly absorbing and powerful book.” — John D’Emilio

"The Rest of It is a gripping, sometimes funny, always searingly honest personal account of one gay man's journey during a pivotal era in the United States and in the LGBTQ rights movement. Much more than that, it's an important historical record from a writer and activist who was deeply immersed in shaping many of the movement's milestones. This book fills in the gaps of Martin Duberman's intense, amazing and enormously productive life, and we're all the wiser for having it." — Michelangelo Signorile


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, at City University of New York, where he founded and directed the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. He is the author of numerous histories, biographies, memoirs, essays, plays, and novels, which include Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey; Paul Robeson; Stonewall; Midlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade, 1971–1981; Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community; The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein; Jews/Queers/Germans; and more than a dozen others. His biography of Charles Francis Adams won the Bancroft Prize, and his coedited anthology Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past won two Lambda Literary Awards. He won a third Lambda Award for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS. Duberman received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Historical Association, as well as two honorary degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters from Amherst College, and Doctor of Letters from Columbia University. He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Duberman lives in New York City.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface  xi
1. My Mother's Death  1
2. Attempted Therapies: Theater, LSD, Bioenergetics  9
3. A New Kind of History: Gay Scholarship  14
4. Reading My Circadian Chart  26
5. Hustlers  37
6. A Heart Attack  45
7. The Reagan Years Begin  51
8. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Gay Movement  56
9. Writing the Paul Robeson Biography  79
10. New York Native  91
11. CUNY, Christopher Lasch, and Eugene Genovese  96
12. The Onset of AIDS  107
13. Completing Robeson  117
14. The Salmagundi Controversy  126
15. Paul Robeson Jr.  135
16. Depression  139
17. Hospitalization  154
18. Getting Clean: AA and CA  162
19. East Germany and After  172
20. The Theater Again  181
21. Aftermaths: 1985–1988  187
Acknowledgments  223
Index  225
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-7070-3
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