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

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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