Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America

John McMillian, Oxford Univ., $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-19-531992-7
Historian McMillian (The New Left Revisited) turns the clock back to the college radicals who shaped the influential underground press to give voice to the disfranchised, in his highly detailed book. These newspapers, reflecting the soul of the counterculture, kept readers informed during the late 1960s through the early 1970s on campuses and in cities, protesting the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, gay and women's rights. McMillian is at his critical best when he examines the history of the papers that led the youthful resistance, including the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, the Berkeley Barb, and The Rag. Not only does he show the rich yet erratic contribution of the publications and their founders, but he reveals FBI Director Hoover's plots against them, employing infiltrators, wiretaps, forged documents, and smear campaigns. Using prime examples of the radical press services attacked by the feds, McMillian has contributed a solid and informed commentary on the New Left's independent press. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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