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Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 22. April 2011

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... this is a work of serious scholarship ... Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement Smoking Typewriters is an impressively researched history of the emergence of the underground press in the 1960s. ... a work with remarkable contemporary resonance Aurelie Basha i Novosejt, Journal of Contemporary History

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

John McMillian is co-editor of The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of an American Radical Tradition (New Press, 2005), The New Left Revisited (Temple, 2003), and Protest Nation: Words that Inspired a Century of American Radicalism (New Press, 2010).

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13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent Introduction for Anyone Born After 1956 ... 19. Februar 2011
Von Chip Berlet - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
...and a great trip down memory lane for those like me who were born before 1956. Smoking Typewriters is so full of fascinating mind-boggling anecdotes that reading it was like a flashback. I was a writer and photographer in the underground press and served on the board of the Underground Press Syndicate run by Tom Forcade who is profiled in the book.

McMillan's book is balanced and thoughtful. Neither a fawning homage nor a nasty attack, Smoking Typewriters It is what good scholarship is supposed to be. It's also a great read. Some contemporary critics of the underground press are just jealous they weren't smoking dope, getting laid, and attending rock concerts like those of us in the underground press.

Yes there were drugs, sex, and rock & roll in the underground press, but there was occasionally some darn good journalism leaping from the pages, and we helped build a movement for progressive social change that shifted society toward more democracy, equality, and just plain fun. McMillian analyzes this sociological synergy in Smoking Typewriters in prose never is dull even when slyly inserting the intellectual stuff.

While writing the book McMillan came to use the archive where I work at Political Research Associates, and I was hoping the book would be worth the wait. It is.
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Perhaps this book will make our microfilm machines smoke! 21. Februar 2011
Von Laurie A. Charnigo - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A few years ago, I stumbled across a source in our library (I'm an academic librarian) titled the "Underground Newspaper Collection." It didn't look like it had been touched in years- just more yellow boxes of film covered with cobweb in a section the students no longer venture. Having always been fascinated with sixties movements, I was extremely delighted to find out that within this collection were over 500 "underground" newspapers/ newsletters. I considered this a huge treasure find as most of these newspapers can't be found freely on the Internet. I wondered who took the time to preserve all these amazing papers which provide a snapshot of the lifeblood of those movements? Where did the collection come from? What was the story behind this collection?

McMillian's "Smoking Typewriters" answers all of these questions. How shocked I was to learn that the man who founded "High Times" was, in part, responsible for the preservation of this collection. I was also amazed to learn the lengths (some quite comical) the "establishment" went to in attempting to shut down and censor underground newspapers. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking "this is the kind of stuff that would make a good Coen brothers movie).

"Smoking Typewriters" is a must read for anyone interested in journalism. McMillian traces the roots of the underground newspapers of the sixties to the alternative presses that later grew and the impact they left on journalism. Although the Internet has transformed and democratized news and media in new and different ways, there is something so beautiful and brilliant about the underground newspapers that flourished during the sixties. McMillian delves into what made those newspapers so unique and why they are an important part of our cultural, political, and journalistic history. Not only is the book very enlightening but it is filled with references to original sources which are of such an interesting and curious nature, that he provides a kind of bibliography for anyone exploring the collection.

There seems to be such a blandness among the cultural and political spirit of today's college students. Having been given all the tools to disseminate information fast and engage in a dialogue easily with readers, the activist passion of the sixties seems incredibly absent. In "Smoking Typewriters," McMillian made me aware of the extreme value of these papers. I am already thinking of ways to promote the "Underground Newspaper Collection" in our library. If our students were to read this book, which I will recommend, I'm sure we might see our microfilm machines smoking again, as well.
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Mightier Than the Sword 29. Januar 2011
Von The Ginger Man - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Smoking Typewriters is a brief but well written and researched addition to Sixties studies. McMillian argues that the Underground Press became the counterculture movement's primary means of internal communication. Prior to the birth of the UG press, the youth revolt, says the author, was marked more by fragmentation than cohesion.

In recent times, the internet created the opportunity for Blogging which expanded and democratized contemporary political dialogue. Similarly, technological change in the 60s, in the form of photo-offset printing, made newspaper production cheap and easy. "For just a couple hundred dollars, one could print several thousand copies of an eight- or sixteen-page tabloid." This change made the Underground Press possible. McMillian shows how and why it developed. He starts with an examination of the early histories of local papers such as the LA Free Press, The Paper of East Lansing and the Rag from Austin. He moves to an analysis of the the rise of the Liberation News Service, which centralized newsgathering and dissemination nationally. Along the way, we see how traditional media and the Underground Press covered events such as the Columbia University Riots, the March on the Pentagon, the Stones Concert at Altamont and the Great Banana Hoax of 1967.

This new source of information and analysis had to overcome government disruption and the challenges of creating a product through participatory democracy in order to become what cultural critic Louis Menand called "one of the most spontaneous and aggressive growths in publishing history." McMillian believes the UG press was critical to the growth of a sense of identity in the counterculture. "Underground newspapers," he argues, "began contributing mightily to the New Left's sense that it stood at the heart of a new society." He shows how a local left-wing or avant-garde community provided the market and impetus for a radical paper and how, in turn, the paper accelerated the development of the community that birthed it. The author also demonstrates how these papers not only reported the news of the New Left community but, in some cases, created situations out of which the news emerged.

The book succeeds in adding to our understanding of the events of the 60s. It also has value in demonstrating how even a minor disruptive change in technology such as development of photo-offset can have immense impact on political dialogue. Finally, Smoking Typewriters provides an additional historical example of how media influences as well as reports events. To help achieve these goals, the author has assembled an impressive bibliography which includes interviews and correspondence with participants, Document Collections (SDS records, Student Protest files), University papers (Columbia, Amherst, University of Michigan), Underground press and Alternative Media collections.

This is a good initial analysis: succinct, grounded in research and well written. I would recommend especially to people interested in Sixties history and in the role of media in contemporary America.
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The author gets it. 19. Februar 2011
Von Allen Young - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The author gets it. I was a participant in these historic moments in a very intense way. I agree with the other praise for this book, and am immensely impressed at the serious and accurate research -- and the nuanced analysis and narrative.
Von Howard M. Romaine - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is a Harvard University trained historian's perspective on the rise and fall of the Underground Press during its rise as proponent and explainer of the civil rights movement, and Opponent of the Indochina War, as well as all the attendant sideshows such as drugs, sex and rock and roll. It's a good beginning overview, but it's structure tied to its notion that the press was a reflection of the leading white student group of the era, Students for A Democratic Society, lead it in too narrow a path to adequately judge the diverse achievements of such papers as the Austin, Texas RAG, the Atlanta Great Speckled Bird, the NOLA Express of New Orleans, or KUDZU of Mississippi, or many others, and their respective downfalls, changes suppression during the Nixon era. There remains thousands of FBI documents still to be examined by some or several future his/her storians, 15,000 documents,according to New Left Historian Gregg Michel, were generated about one small group in Nashville, the Southern Student Organizing Committee, which gave a small grant to start one of the first student papers, THE VIRGINIA WEEKLY, at the University of Virginia, in the spring of 1967. The management of dissent, from the Hoover era to the present is a large field left for plowing, tilling and a larger harvest than this first, but interesting, overview. Howard M. Romaine, chair SSOC '65-66, CO-FOUNDER, the Great Speckled Bird, journalist, lawyer, writer
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