Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is John McMillian reading?

This weekend's featured contributor at Writers Read: John McMillian, author of Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America.

His entry begins:
It’s an unusual time to be answering this question. I now teach at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, and we’ve just finished up our winter break, which was almost a month long. And I had such big hopes for all the reading I wanted to accomplish during that period! Even during the semester, when I’m teaching full-time, I still manage to consume a good amount of media: the New York Times (daily), and my favorite magazines: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper’s (which has just gotten better now that Thomas Frank is a regular columnist). I also read web magazines like Slate and Salon, and I’m a devoted follower The Daily Dish, by far my favorite blog. But during most semesters, I rarely manage to steal enough time to read whole books just for pleasure.

In early December, however, while looking forward to my break, I ordered a box of books from, and I was excited about all of them [including]...Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and...[read on]
Among the early praise for Smoking Typewriters:
"Readable, richly detailed study of the hundreds of anti-establishment 1960s newspapers ... A welcome book on the '60s--a nostalgia trip for those who were there and a vivid work of history for anyone curious about the journalism that jolted a decade."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Thoroughly researched and well-written, this book will serve as the definitive treatment of the radical and alternative media of the 1960s. While telling his story, much of it both exciting and tragic, John McMillian confronts crucial issues-questions about objectivity and democratic activism-with verve and insight."
--Kevin Mattson, author of "What the Heck are You Up To, Mr. President?"

"This tour d'horizon of the 60s underground press is a tour de force...a compact, sharply-etched, and well-informed recollection of the rebellious young journalists whose voices and views breached the high walls of Mainstream Media long before the current Internet-savvy generation rushed in to finish off to what remains of Conventional-Wisdom-based reporting. Seen with fresh eyes by a talented young scholar, Smoking Typewriters tells an important-and entertaining-story about modern American culture and its endless upheavals."
--Richard Parker, Harvard University

"John McMillian's Smoking Typewriters is as vivid, subtle, and scrupulous as the '60s upheaval, in all its audacity and weirdness, deserves."
--Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage
John McMillian is an assistant professor of history at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he specializes in studying 20th century social movements and the Vietnam War Era.

Visit McMillian's website, and learn more about the book at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Smoking Typewriters.

Writers Read: John McMillian.

--Marshal Zeringue