SQUARE DANCING IN THE ICE AGE: Underground Writings by Abbie Hoffman


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The best and worst of Abbie Hoffman: 26 assorted pieces, 1975-81, from motley journals (Penthouse to Mother Jones), on sundry subjects. They are arranged in no discernible order (chronological would have been helpful) although, as it happens, the worst--the ones about Abbie himself--come first. Does anyone really care any more how hard the FBI searched for him? Does anyone want to hear (""and I don't see this as particularly heroic"") that he never wanted to become rich? But on other subjects--a determined New Mexico commune, the American prison system, Jimmy Carter and civil rights (or, ""where were the Carters of Plains"" when we needed them?), the US overreaction to Afghanistan--Hoffman can be incisive, informative, and, most of all, funny. He's funniest ridiculing his (usually deserving) foes, such as the FBI: ""Large chrome letters humbly solve the mystery of the letters FBI: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. Exactly the qualities needed for good wire men and midnight burglars."" Or, Christian Network Broadcasting star Pat Robertson: ""Pat often talks to God. God often talks back. In CBN literature. . . He's invariably depicted as a super-smart stockbroker always ready to whisper a hot tip in your ear, if only you pray hard enough and don't forget to slip Pat his commission."" On the serious side is the piece on German underground journalist Gunter Wallraff (""Through disguises and false papers you assume a role and enter society through the back door"") and, most especially, on the fight to keep the St. Lawrence (where Hoffman was last holed up) a natural river--vs. the Army Engineers' effort to turn it into a year-round seaway. Hoffman is no fool, for all his clowning--and when he's not talking about himself, he often says something worth listening to.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1982
Publisher: Putnam