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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An explosive story of Ramparts magazine
Peter Richardson has crafted a work of thorough research and a compelling story in "A Bomb in Every Issue," the saga of Ramparts magazine. Ramparts was the quintessential leftist publication of the 1960s that changed traditional journalism and inspired a generation of investigative reporters before Watergate.

Anyone who lived or is interested in the Sixties and...
Published on September 17, 2009 by Duffy Jennings

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, But a Bit Uninspired
In 1968, "Ramparts" magazine seemed like just about the coolest thing ever to hit the newstands. It was unapologetically slick, left-wing, anti-liberal, and irreverent... a sure remedy to big media that if anything was even more "lamestream" back then.

I'm pretty sure it was the "look" of the magazine (twenty years ahead of its time) that drew me to subscribe...
Published on December 19, 2011 by Peter Baklava


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An explosive story of Ramparts magazine, September 17, 2009
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This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
Peter Richardson has crafted a work of thorough research and a compelling story in "A Bomb in Every Issue," the saga of Ramparts magazine. Ramparts was the quintessential leftist publication of the 1960s that changed traditional journalism and inspired a generation of investigative reporters before Watergate.

Anyone who lived or is interested in the Sixties and the emergence of the counter-culture will find this to be a fascinating backstory to the era. Richardson draws upon interviews with more than fifty writers, experts and observers of the tumultuous events that shaped much of the political and socioeconomic framework in Northern California, including Jann Wenner, Warren Hinckle, Lowell Bergman, Tom Hayden, Paul Krassner, Adam Hochschild, Robert Scheer and many more.

As a San Francisco Bay Area writer and former newspaper journalist during the late Sixties and Seventies, I thought I had a fair knowledge of the media scene at the time, but I was captivated by details here that I had never read or known of before. I heartily recommend the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Key for any library strong in journalism or social issues, February 20, 2010
This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America is the first book to tell of the short life of Ramparts, originally founded as a Catholic literary quarterly that evolved to become the leftist publication of its times committed to civil rights and antiwar movements. This magazine made a strong impact on its readers and this history is key for any library strong in journalism or social issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trip down a wild and wooly memory lane, February 10, 2010
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This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
This fabulous book kept me completely hooked. While some of the information and networks and stories were totally new to me (who knew all that about the Black Panthers?!?!) the more familiar stories helped me to piece together parts of the sixties that I had never thoroughly processed. Pick it up and enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, February 28, 2013
This relatively short book was a fresh air compared to these 400 and 500 page plus books that seem to be the norm these days. There was a lot of interesting info in this book. I liked the info regarding noted celebrities and politicians; U.S. counterculture in the 60s; the anecdotes about the Ramparts staff; and the stuff regarding the socio-economic changes that rocked the nation back then. I'm sure the writer left a lot of interesting stuff out. But I was born in the mid-80s, so I'm not familiar with that time in the same way other reviewers were, so it didn't bother me as much.

The main complaints I have of this book is the fact that we're given few photos regarding the art in the magazine. Apparently, the artistic layout of the magazine was so stunning other magazines were envious (Esquire was envious enough to try to hire the art director). I would have liked to see a lot of this artwork but the book features too little. Another complaint: there aren't any quotes from the magazine. From what I have read about Ramparts, the writing style was something people truly liked about the magazine. In that case, why aren't there any excerpts of the writing style? That would have truly helped this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mine of Ramparts History, January 26, 2010
This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
The magazines we get today like Time or Newsweek although have a history they are largely mainstream. They give us the usual lo-down on what is going on in the world but not much more. Peter Richardson sheds some light on how it used be done with his book about Ramparts magazine A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America.

Ramparts was founded by Edward M. Keating in 1962 with a focus on catholic matters. I use the phrase "catholic matters" but maybe a description from books introduction might give you a better idea of what Ramparts was about. It described itself as a "forum for the mature American Catholic" focusing on "those positive principles of Hellenic-Christian tradition which have shaped and sustained our civilization for the past two thousand years" It Sounds pretty staunch doesn't it? But it wasn't long before the magazine took a sharp turn to the left; it became a radical muckraker that by all accounts turned the art of journalism on its head and gave it a good shake.

I first heard of Ramparts through Scanlans magazine and their common denominator Warren Hinckle; and because of my huge interest in Scanlans I was delighted to get a peek at A Bomb in Every Issue so soon.

So what about it? Well after reading the book I've realized that magazines like Ramparts and Scanlans for that matter deserve some consideration for their contribution to a new, no nonsense style of journalism and gutsy political reporting. Publications with guile are thin on the ground these days.

Richardson gives a detailed account of the 13 year life of Ramparts and its most contentious stories. I had heard of Ramparts but never knew much about it's history, but after reading A Bomb in Every issue I found just how important Ramparts was in the progression of journalism; and reporting issues that some folks would have preferred were buried. For example, it was the first to publish a conspiracy theory surrounding the assassination of JFK. Another point of interest was it's publication of Che Guevara's diaries. It also boasted a long list of contributors including Cesar Chavez, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky and many more.

The Hunter S. Thompson connection with Ramparts and of course Warren Hinckle is as you'd expect an entertaining one, as Richardson told me "The HST material in the book is brief but memorable: a fantastical visit to the Ramparts office, where Hinckle's pet monkey got into his pills; the Chicago lunacy in 1968; and the Ramparts Wall Posters, an idea HST lifted for his campaign in Colorado." The HST material in the book is small and not a huge selling point (nor was it intended to be) but it doesn't need it, there's plenty of other material to make this book stand on its own.

The bottom line is this. For anyone who's interested in journalism and it's transformation over the years; this book is a must read. It shows us the mettlesome attitude Ramparts had in its approach to spreading news, popular or not. As a fan of journalism I hope this book does well and reaches future writers of any ilk. It will bring to the fore a type of journalism that sadly is not as prominent as it should be in this day and age.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid history, steady eye, November 13, 2009
This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
Peter Richardson's excellent first book, "American Prophet: The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams," told the story of the most important political writer to come out of 1930s and '40s California into post-war national prominence. Writing that book prepared Richardson well for "A Bomb in Every Issue," his outstanding second effort.

"A Bomb in Every Issue" traces the vivid history of Ramparts magazine, the Bay Area experiment that in little more than a decade (the early '60s through the mid-'70s) evolved from a sober-minded liberal Catholic journal of ideas into one of the most radical, irreverent and influential magazines of its time.

From Thomas Merton to Eldridge Cleaver and the Symbionese Liberation Army, from Vatican II to Vietnam and People's Park, Richardson presents a dazzling cast of characters and a heady range of issues and events. While training his focus on the ground-level California activists who made the Ramparts bomb tick--vanguard journalists, visionary publishers, and at-times downright gonzo promoters--Richardson keeps a steady eye on the larger world of American politics and culture that Ramparts illuminated and affected.

I recommend this book with enthusiasm.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I used to love Ramparts and was devastated when it went out of ..., October 2, 2014
By 
J. Wagner (Sacramento, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
This book is absolutely outstanding. Excellently researched and well written. Keeps you engaged and turning the pages throughout. I used to love Ramparts and was devastated when it went out of business but i had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. We are lucky we had it for a while and now (I wasn't aware of the book until recently) we are lucky we have Peter Richardson's excellent history.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, But a Bit Uninspired, December 19, 2011
By 
Peter Baklava (Charles City, Iowa) - See all my reviews
In 1968, "Ramparts" magazine seemed like just about the coolest thing ever to hit the newstands. It was unapologetically slick, left-wing, anti-liberal, and irreverent... a sure remedy to big media that if anything was even more "lamestream" back then.

I'm pretty sure it was the "look" of the magazine (twenty years ahead of its time) that drew me to subscribe to it, as a somewhat idealistic 15-year-old. The magazine was an eye-opener. It was the first place to ever point out the out-of-control abuses of the Central Intelligence Agency, both domestically and in foreign affairs. I still remember the disdainful look I was given by my World History teacher when I slid a copy of "Ramparts", with a full blown cover shot of Che Guevara's bullet-riddled corpse, over his desktop. (He was doing study-chapter on Latin America).

"A Bomb in Every Issue" is an apt description of what the magazine tried to be...loud, entertaining, and far from politically-correct. But I also remember that even as 1968 was described as a "glory year" for the publication, I couldn't always rely on an issue showing up every month in the mailbox. It was already starting to crack up.

Peter Richardson manages in a short space (200 pages) to sketch out the zany history of the mag, and the primary movers and shakers: the swashbuckling Warren Hinckle, the politically savvy Robert Scheer, and the designer/genius, Dugald Stermer. It could have been described as "gonzo journalism" before the term was common, and in the magazine's remnants you could find Jann Wenner ("Rolling Stone"), Hunter Thompson, and the great Christopher Hitchens. All toiled at some point for "Ramparts". Then the magazine went off the cliff with the rest of the lot: The Black Panthers, Tom Hayden, and all the loonies that were compelled to take things to the furthest extreme.

I can't fault this book for what it does in a relatively constricted form. It's very "adequate",and touches all the bases. But to really appreciate what "Ramparts" was, you need access to the real thing, in color. Maybe an accompanying cd/rom that allowed you to stroll through an issue would have done the trick. I have to say this book left me hungry for more "hard evidence" from the pages of its subject. Any copy of "Ramparts", I can tell you, would have been much more absorbing and entertaining.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a Dud than a Bomb, March 8, 2010
By 
Richard Gearon (Corona, California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
I subscribed to Ramparts for several years, and considered it then, and now, to be the best magazine, of any kind, that I have ever read. This book, unfortunately, doesn't adhere to the same journalistic principles as the magazine did. The author didn't do enough research and background work on his subject. Angela Davis is mentioned only three times in the entire book, and there isn't anything about the shoot-out at San Quentin prison. In the photo section, there is a picture of Eldridge Cleaver, with Ms Davis sitting right beside him, and she isn't mentioned in the caption. That's the bad news. The good news is, it's a pretty good book that should be read by a lot of people. More good news: Now I know just how much of a commie-loving stooge Tom Hayden was. He and his future ex-wife, Jane Fonda, deserved each other. I was VERY dismayed to find out that the Ramparts editorial staff, living high on the hog far away from the tear-gas, made a decision to leave out the fact that the police were provoked by people throwing rocks at them. That, in no way, excuses the behavior of the police. It was very aptly described as a "police riot." However, the editorial staff caved in to the commie-loving freaks who WANTED people to get hurt by the cops. Had they no shame?
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bomb in Every Issue, October 22, 2010
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This review is from: A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (Hardcover)
Not as entertaining as I expected. it's a history of a short-term rock maqgazine and the management differences behind the scenes.
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