Allen Young to read from his book in Wendell

  • “Left, Gay & Green” Courtesy image/Allen Young

  • Young in 1969 Courtesy image/Allen Young

For the Recorder
Friday, May 25, 2018

Allen Young of Royalston, author of “Left, Gay & Green: A Writer’s Life” will be the guest of the Wendell Public Library on Thursday, May 31, at 7 p.m., when he will read excerpts from this newly-released autobiography.

The 500-page memoir includes many photographs. Young, who writes the Inside/Outside column for the Athol Daily News, will read passages, including references to Wendell and other towns in the North Quabbin region.

At 76, more than half of Young’s life has been spent in the North Quabbin Region, and his narrative includes his experience building a house in a communal setting, working for the Athol Daily News and Athol Hospital, and his involvement in various community organizations. One chapter is devoted to four local institutions that were vibrant in the 1970s and linked to the back-to-the-land movement — the Warwick Inn, the Our Daily Bread Food Coop, the Cupola Restaurant and the Baldwin Hill Bakery.

It also covers his earlier life, growing up on a chicken farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains, his experiences during the 1950s Red Scare when his parents were members of the Communist Party, his education in public schools and at Columbia and Stanford universities, three years spent in South America, writing for a variety of newspapers, involvement in the anti-war and gay liberation movements and deciding to leave city life behind.

Unique chapters delve into his identity as a non-religious Jew and his experiences with marijuana, including his 1980 arrest for cultivation.

The back cover of the book includes this endorsement from Eric Foner, a Pulitzer prize-winning history professor at Columbia: “Allen Young’s memoir chronicles a remarkable personal and political journey, from growing up as a red diaper baby through the radicalism of the 1960s and the emergence and development of the modern gay movement. What makes it so compelling is not only Young’s superb writing, but his revealing candor and intellectual curiosity. The personal and the political, as the saying goes, really do overlap here, and the result is a fascinating narrative that reveals a great deal about an important strand of modern American life.”

Young also served for many years on the board of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust.

The book is also on sale at Haley’s in Athol, Trailhead Outfitters and General Store in Orange and the Country Store in Petersham. Copies will be available to purchase at the library during his reading. It was published through CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, where it can also be purchased online.