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

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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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