A vivid, electric tale certain to evoke nostalgia for underground veterans and spark interest for newcomers. A good...

THE DOWNTOWN POP UNDERGROUND

NEW YORK CITY AND THE LITERARY PUNKS, RENEGADE ARTISTS, DIY FILMMAKERS, MAD PLAYWRIGHTS, AND ROCK 'N' ROLL GLITTER QUEENS WHO REVOLUTIONIZED CULTURE

A glimpse into one of New York City’s greatest underground cultural epochs.

While much has been written about Greenwich Village and the folk music movement of the 1960s, the parallel and explosive elements of New York’s larger underground cultural revolution have been comparatively neglected, along with its offspring: the 1970s renaissance that rippled through the seedier downtown boroughs. McLeod (Communications Studies/Univ. of Iowa; Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, 2014, etc.) aims to showcase those myriad underground scenes, encapsulating two decades of evolution in this concise historical montage. Impressively, the author transforms an encyclopedic trove of factoids and compresses it into a tight, appealingly written chronicle. “While sorting through stacks of archival research and over a million transcribed words from my interviews,” writes the author, “I gravitated to those who straddle multiple mediums and art forms.” McLeod pries open the intersected scenes of the most pivotal players: “Andy Warhol, a key connector figure,” along with playwright H.M. Koutoukas, indie filmmaker Shirley Clarke, punk-poet Patti Smith, “trashy bleach-blonde” Debbie Harry, free speech icon and Fugs frontman Ed Sanders, “DIY theater impresario Ellen Stewart,” and “the gender-fluid performer” Hibiscus. Listing his primary focus as “experimentation, hybridity, and border-crossing,” McLeod’s mission was to examine this group of artists and their broad social networks and downtown environs (complete with maps), detailing the coalescence of the underground as its influence bled into the greater landscape of mainstream culture. In this literal who’s who of scenesters, McLeod highlights dozens of both well-known and obscure artists, including John Cage, the Ramones, Nico, Paul Morrissey, Andrei Codrescu, Paul Krassner, and many more. Other terrain includes the birth of punk, the burgeoning indie press, the germination of hip-hop, and the avant-garde film movement and off-off-Broadway along with the landmarks of this epicenter—Caffe Cino, Cafè La MaMa, the Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, etc.

A vivid, electric tale certain to evoke nostalgia for underground veterans and spark interest for newcomers. A good complement to Will Hermes’ Love Goes to Buildings on Fire.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3252-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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