A Saving Remnant – Martin Duberman

The book: A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds by Martin Duberman

The crux: The story of two gay writer-activists who played central roles in the radical politics of the 1960s.

The context: Friends and allies in the disarmament, civil rights, and antiwar movements, Deming (1917-84) and McReynolds, 81, struggled with their homosexuality in the pre-Stonewall years.  She wrote on nonviolence for Partisan Review and The Nation; he played a major role at Liberation magazine and the War Resisters League.  Their stories capture the period and the lives of the committed, including Bayard Rustin and Dave Dellinger.

In 2000, McReynolds ran for President on the Socialist Party ticket, describing himself as “a badly read Marxist and a Gandhian pacifist who never found the perfect formula to blend Marx and Gandhi.”

Take home: A revealing portrait of two courageous and engaged individuals.

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