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Comment: Condition: As New condition., As new condition dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Publisher: Oxford University Press / Pub. Date: 2011-02-17 Attributes: Book, 304 pp / Illustrations: B&W Photographs Stock#: 2066196 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America Hardcover – February 17, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0195319927 ISBN-10: 0195319923 Edition: 1st

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Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America + On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195319923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195319927
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
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Review

... 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

More About the Author

Hello! I was born and raised in Michigan, and I spent my teenage years in a tiny town called Essexville. Then, like everyone else in my immediate family, I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University. It was the right choice for me. When I first started, I could not have imagined that I'd eventually want to go into academia, but I had some truly great professors at MSU, and they helped kindle some of my current interests. Later, I got a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, and from 2001-2009 I taught in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature at Harvard.

Back when I was a grad student, I co-edited a couple of books on American radicalism. I still think that's an important and oft-overlooked topic, but truth be told, I'm not much of a radical myself. (I don't like being ideologically pigeonholed.) My first full book, "Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media In America," (Oxford, 2011) is a scholarly monograph, based on my Ph.D. dissertation. My latest, "Beatles Vs. Stones," (Simon & Schuster, 2013) is a popular history. I examine the friendship and "rivalry" between the two groups, and assess how it was constructed -- by fans, the media, and the groups themselves. It's a short book, but I worked hard on it, and it was a lot of fun to write. Currently I'm an assistant professor of history at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. I love my job, and I'm excited to be getting started on a new project, on Garry Trudeau and his great comic strip, "Doonesbury."

Thanks so much for your interest. My email address is easy to find, so please feel free to be in touch if you like. Happy reading!

Customer Reviews

I was a participant in these historic moments in a very intense way.
Allen Young
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.
Chip Berlet
Less anti-capitalist, undrugged and less improvised, the Alternative Press ran ads, found investors, was better organized and more professionally run.
William A. Percy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chip Berlet on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
...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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. Charnigo on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Ginger Man VINE VOICE on January 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Allen Young on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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