A candid and engaging account of hippiedom.

HIPPIE CHICK

COMING OF AGE IN THE ’60S

A teenage rebel leaves her New Jersey home for San Francisco and finds herself swept up in the hippie movement in this debut memoir.

Raised in the Italian Jewish neighborhood of Mill Road in Irvington, New Jersey, English was the youngest of six siblings. She lived in the shadow of a “strict and old-fashioned” mother, who died in 1962 when the author was only 16 years old. English confides: “My mother’s death set me free.” Just over a year later, she moved to San Francisco to live with her sister Carole and her husband, David. The author soon found alternate accommodations “a few blocks off Haight,” at the epicenter of the counterculture movement. She recalls her first sexual experiences, her introduction to marijuana, and her rapid immersion in the hippie scene. The memoir goes on to describe English’s emotional highs and lows, from meeting Janis Joplin and living on The Farm (a community founded in Tennessee by spiritual guru Stephen Gaskin) to coping with abortion and Carole’s development of lupus while pregnant. The author offers an unabashed account of being part of the hippie movement. Regarding “free love,” she discusses the idea that sex “wasn’t that different from hugging someone” but also discloses that she could “often be found sitting in the bathtub afterwards, trying desperately to feel clean again.” English also shows that being a hippie chick was no escape from gender inequality—men expected her to have sex with them, and should she fall pregnant, they assumed she would get an abortion. Even Gaskin abused his position of power by making sexual advances: “Before I knew what was happening, he slipped his tongue in my mouth.” The author’s straight-talking style comes at a price—the book is lacking in rich imagery. For instance, she attended a Doors concert and unimaginatively describes Jim Morrison as “really adorable in a bad-boy kind of way.” An opportunity to transport readers to the event using vivid details is sadly missed. Nonetheless, this memoir, illustrated with English’s photographs, is a revealing account of hippie life from a female angle and will interest anyone intent on discovering the realities that lay behind countercultural ideology.

A candid and engaging account of hippiedom.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-586-5

Page Count: 344

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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