Luminous Traitor: The Just and Daring Life of Roger Casement, a Biographical Novel

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9780520298880: Luminous Traitor: The Just and Daring Life of Roger Casement, a Biographical Novel
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"Martin Duberman is a national treasure."
—Masha Gessen, The New Yorker
 
 Roger Casement was an internationally renowned figure at the beginning of the 20th century, famous for exposing the widespread atrocities against the indigenous people in King Leopold's Congo and his subsequent exposure—for which he was knighted in 1911—of the brutal conditions of enslaved labor in Peru. An Irish nationalist of profound conviction, he attempted, at the outbreak of World War I, to obtain German support and weapons for an armed rebellion against British rule. Apprehended and convicted of treason in a notorious trial that captured worldwide attention, Casement was sentenced to die on the gallows. A powerful petition drive for the commutation of his sentence was inaugurated by George Bernard Shaw and a host of other influential figures.
 
A gay man, Casement kept detailed diaries of his sexual escapades, and the British government, upon discovering the diaries, circulated its pages to public figures, thereby crippling what had been a mounting petition for clemency. In 1916, he was hanged. In this gripping reimagining, acclaimed historian Martin Duberman paints a full portrait of the man for the first time. Tracing his evolution from servant of the empire to his work as a humanitarian activist and anti-imperialist, Duberman resurrects and recognizes all facets—from the professional to the personal—of the fantastic life of this pioneer for human rights. 
 
 

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From the Inside Flap:

"As a long-time admirer of both Martin Duberman and Roger Casement, it is a delight to see one imagine his way into the life of the other. Casement was an extraordinary historical figure, too long ignored or belittled, but Duberman’s highly readable novel does him full justice.”—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

“Martin Duberman's stirring and vivid prose takes the reader into Roger Casement’s world and the haunting tragedies he confronted. From the Congo to Ireland, and across the imperial, postcolonial globe, the journey is amazing and fortifying.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt

"This remarkable and very readable book deserves a wide audience. The late Sir Roger Casement's wonderful and tragic life, from his first experiences in the Congo to his effective challenge to the brutal exploitation of indigenous people in the Putumayo region of the Amazon, is dramatized beautifully. Episodes including Casement's voice are persuasively achieved. During my lifetime Casement's homosexuality was aggressively denied by a Republican who refused to allow that an Irish patriot could be both such and also gay, but Casement's diaries are both convincing and representative of the sexual encounters of many gay men right up into my own lifetime. Here his sexuality is finally woven into the narrative naturally and compellingly."—David Norris, member of the Irish Senate and human rights activist  

“Duberman has chosen his ultimate flawed hero, a richly complex and contradictory figure of enduring importance, and superbly humanized him here. The result is a sweeping radical history of the successes and shortcomings of the 20th century told through the life and times of Roger Casement.”—John Howard, author of White Sepulchres and Men Like That

 
 

About the Author:

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 including Has the Gay Movement Failed?, Cures: A Gay Mans OdysseyPaul RobesonStonewallBlack Mountain: An Exploration in Community, The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, and more than a dozen others. He is the recipient of the Bancroft Prize, multiple Lambda Literary Awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Historical Association, and he has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In 2012 Duberman received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Amherst College and in 2017 an honorary Doctor of Letters from Columbia University.

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