A welcome book on the ’60s—a nostalgia trip for those who were there and a vivid work of history for anyone curious about...

SMOKING TYPEWRITERS

THE SIXTIES UNDERGROUND PRESS AND THE RISE OF ALTERNATIVE MEDIA IN AMERICA

An unusually thoughtful account of the in-your-face underground press of the 1960s and its role in fomenting a decade of youth revolt.

McMillian (History/Georgia State Univ.; co-editor: Protest Nation: Words that Inspired a Century of American Radicalism, 2010, etc.) immersed himself in Bell & Howell’s Underground Press Collection on microfilm to write this readable, richly detailed study of the hundreds of anti-establishment 1960s newspapers—from the Los Angeles Free Press to Rag (Austin, Texas) and The Paper (East Lansing, Mich.)—that “educated, politicized and built communities among disaffected youths in every region of the country.” Edited by young radicals, filled with heated prose and muckraking by reporters who were engaged in the events they covered and made possible by inexpensive new printing technologies, these brash, often amateurishly produced, grassroots publications helped unite revolutionaries and bohemians and played a seldom-acknowledged key role in fostering the protest culture of the ’60s. Sympathetic but fair, McMillian points out the aesthetic and intellectual shortcomings of these often-salacious publications even as he traces their astonishing success at reflecting the democratic sensibilities of ’60s youths. The author provides numerous sharp portraits: Art Kunkin, half-Marxist, half-hippie founder of the LA Free Press (the “Freep”), and his superior coverage of antiwar activities and the 1965 Watts riot; Ray Mungo and Marshall Bloom, founders of the Liberation News Service, which issued weekly packets of political news and analysis from an urban commune; and the legendary John Wilcock, a founder of the Underground Press Syndicate. The chapter on the papers’ role in spreading rumors about getting high on “banana joints” is a hoot. In 1968, the FBI began compiling information on underground papers. Federal and local authorities busted underground journalists for obscenity or drugs; intimated the landlords, advertisers and printers; and hassled their street vendors. By decade’s end, most underground papers ceased publication. In their wake, they left a bevy of lifestyle-heavy alternative publications like the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper.

A welcome book on the ’60s—a nostalgia trip for those who were there and a vivid work of history for anyone curious about the journalism that jolted a decade.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-19-531992-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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