A raucous, absorbing excursion back to the 1960s and ’70s.

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CELEBRATING THE RAG

AUSTIN'S ICONIC UNDERGROUND NEWSPAPER

A remembrance of an American underground newspaper, as presented by former staffers.

This collection of articles, editorials, and artwork honors the Rag, Austin, Texas’ storied underground newspaper that lasted from 1966 to 1977. Dedicated to keeping Austin weird (before the bumper stickers that carried that motto), the paper was a paean to the counterculture and all it entailed—everything from anti-war articles and chronicles of social change (civil rights, women’s liberation) to Gilbert Shelton’s legendary comic strip “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers,” which premiered in the Rag in May 1968. Staffers called the paper “A miracle of functioning anarchy,” which seems accurate, and this history is as comprehensive as it is authentic. Some pieces are a bit scattershot in style, but to borrow the vernacular of its time, the Rag was mostly right-on, covering such milestones as the 1968 Democratic Convention, the 1969 Woodstock music festival, and the 1970 Kent State shootings. However, the book is more than a reprise of the counterculture’s greatest hits. True, the usual suspects show up as subjects, including Allen Ginsberg (who’s interviewed here) and Bob Dylan, but the collection doesn’t just trade in nostalgia; it’s too honest for that. Some pieces get bogged down in local politics—such as a detailed account of an 1972 Austin bus strike—but for the most part, they reflect the splintered national psyche as it was. And on occasion, they’re eerily prescient; for example, in one 1968 essay that mentions the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, the author wonders, “Will John Lennon be next?” Most of all, this book reminds readers that everything old is indeed new again—or perhaps never went away. Consider this excerpt from 1969: “good jobs are not always open to women, women are paid less than men for the same kind of work, women are promoted less frequently than men, and are less likely to be ‘at the top.’ ” Sadly, that could’ve been written yesterday.

A raucous, absorbing excursion back to the 1960s and ’70s.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-365-39054-8

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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