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Cody's Books Hardcover – September 1, 1992

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811802205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811802208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,319,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Life and Times of Cody's Books is a collection of letters, speeches, and lectures written by Fred and Pat Cody on the subject of their independent paperback bookstore. The Cody's were to become the founders of one of America's greatest bookstores, located in the heart of radical Berkley during a tumultuous time. I learned the story of this amazing institution through the documentary film, Paperback Dreams (which can be viewed for free on snagfilms.com). I was captivated by the store's history, and what it stood for. Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and the protection of free speech were central tenants of the owner's philosophy, and they made every effort to use their store as an outlet for small presses and unknown writers.

Fred and Pat were young leftist intellectuals looking to find a means of financial support during the straight-laced 1950s. Fred held a doctorate in Latin American studies, but didn't want to sign the required "loyalty oath" that would qualify him to teach at a university. Instead, he and his wife started a small bookstore, the founding of which happened to coincide with the birth of the "paperback revolution."

Prior to the 1950s, bookstores were mainly trade-sellers of expensive hardback books. Paperbacks were seen as cheap novelty items and one had a hard time finding the classics or large philosophy texts at a low cost. Paperbacks changed all of this, making books inexpensive and accessible to the masses. With paperback books, you didn't have to be a wealthy professor or graduate student to be able to read the collected works of Shakespeare or Spinoza. Suddenly, the literary world opened up to a new generation of thinkers and activists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Covers the history of Cody's books and thus a history of the beat literary movement and thus the history of Berkeley and the history of the civil rights movement. Cody's was there and not only witnessed it all, but was in the middle of it. Wonderful.
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Format: Paperback
This great bookstore in Berkeley, Calif. is the queen of the Bay Area bookstores. It's true, the bookstore has been in the forefront of political activism - the Free Speech Movement, the Viet Nam War, and all the politically correct and groovy issues of the Left. And that's where Cody's Books fault lies. It has naively romanticized about and tacitly supported the idea of the International Communist Movement, and every Marxist-oriented cause, every leftist writer. It supported the Communist side during the struggle of the Polish workers "Solidarity" movement. It never offered a voice of support and hope for the people of Eastern Europe during the final days of the Soviet Union. Its emphasis on political correctness of Left always was and remains today, tiresome and troubling, but Cody's Books, where you seldom find the cheap remnants of Martha Stewart or Oprah, is one great bookstore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cody's Books was ground zero for counter culture intellectualism and Left Wing politics in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. It was also one of my favorite hang outs. The book is well written and a wonderful insight into the ideas of the times. It is also sad that Pat and Fred Cody - two highly intelligent, affable and compassionate people - never learned the lessons of the excesses wrought by the radical Left culture. They were true believers to the end and unfortunately blinded to the dark world their socialist sympathies often create.
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