Jeanne Sager/Sullivan County Democrat
Historian Allan Berube never served in the military, but he told Terry Gross in 1990 that he came to appreciate its importance in "shaping society and in bringing about social change."
Historian Allan Berube died this past Tuesday, at age 61. He wrote what's considered the definitive history of gay men and lesbians in the military. Coming Out Under Fire was published in 1990, and a documentary based on the book was released in 1994.
The idea for the book sprang from a box of letters recovered from a Dumpster. The correspondence among gay soldiers led to dozens of interviews about homosexual life in the military.
Berube himself came out in 1969 and went on to found the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. He was awarded a MacArthur "genius grant" in 1996.