Landmark Anti-Vietnam War Opus Subject of Talk at EVERYbody Reads

Press release for upcoming talk. If you’re in the Lansing area, hope to see you there:

Former Lansing resident and veteran of the Vietnam era underground press Ken Wachsberger will tell stories from the period and do a book signing at a launch party at EVERYbody Reads, 2019 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, 7 p.m., Thursday, March 3.

Ken is the editor and visionary of the landmark 4-volume Voices from the Underground Series (published by Michigan State University Press), an anthology of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam era as told by key people on each of the papers. Volume 1 has just been released and will be available for purchase at the signing. The underground press was the independent, antiwar press of the Vietnam era that told the true story, which the corporate papers suppressed, of what our government was doing behind our backs to the Vietnamese people in our name and with our tax dollars.

Stories in the series represent the gay, lesbian, feminist, Black, Puerto Rican, Native American, military, prisoners’ rights, socialist, new age, rank-and-file, Southern consciousness, psychedelic, and other independent antiwar voices of the era as never before told. Ken was one of the principals of the Lansing area’s Joint Issue, one of a long tradition of local underground papers beginning with the legendary The Paper in 1965 that are included in Ken’s history, which appears in the newly released volume 1. In appendices, he tells why being in jail is like finals week and opens the Red Squad files on East Lansing’s underground press.

Forewords are by Chicago Seed veteran Abe Peck, attorney William Kunstler, and Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, one of the most important progressive blog sites of today’s new media. According to Ken, “With our country bankrupted by two wars, the timing couldn’t be better to read these stories. Markos’s foreword connects yesterday’s underground press generation with today’s blogger generation. It’s time to listen again to the poets and visionaries of the independent, alternative press.”

The book was called “the most important book on American journalism published in my lifetime” by the reviewer for In These Times and was named one of the five most important books in the field of communication for 1993 (Choice) when it appeared in an earlier version in 1993. The Los Angeles Times reviewer said it “comes closer than anything I’ve yet read to putting the sights, sounds and texture of the ‘60s on paper.” “… and it’s fun,” said Erwin Knoll, former editor of The Progressive.

Ken is a long-time author, editor, educator, political organizer, public speaker, and consultant who has written, edited, and lectured widely on the Vietnam era, the Holocaust and Jewish resistance during World War II, the First Amendment, and other issues.

The Voices from the Underground Series has been celebrated by Susan Brownmiller, Bill Ayers, Tom Hayden, Ben Bagdikian, Charlotte Bunch, Barbara Tischler, Country Joe McDonald, Noam Chomsky, Peter Werbe, David Du Bois, Barbara Grier, Art Levin, Paul Krassner, and many others.

To learn more about Voices from the Underground, read many more testimonials, and view the entire four-volume table of contents, go to www.voicesfromtheunderground.com. Ken may be reached at ken@voicesfromtheunderground.com for interviews and speaking invitations.

 Then mark your calendar: Thursday March 3 beginning at 7 p.m.

 * * *

 A small sampling of stories from volume 1 of the 4-volume

Voices from the Underground Series:

  •  Marilyn Webb recalls the first year of off our backs, the first national feminist paper to emerge on the east coast.
  •  Allen Cohen tells the history of Haight-Ashbury through his history of The Oracle, the premier psychedelic underground paper of the period.
  •  John Woodford shares his journey from being an editor at Ebony, the highest-circulation publication for a black readership, to joining Muhammad Speaks, the Black Muslim paper, soon after Elijah Muhammad expelled Malcolm X, to becoming editor in chief, to being released.
  •  Charley Shively remembers the 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Bar in New York City where “instead of going quietly into the waiting vans, the motley crowd of queers and queens attacked the police,” inspiring a nationwide gay and lesbian liberation movement, along with a whole network of Gay Liberation Front papers, including Boston’s Fag Rag.
  •  Ken Wachsberger opens the Red Squad files on East Lansing’s underground press and tells why being in jail is like finals week.
  •  Doug George-Kanentiio intertwines oral and written records going back 2,000 years to explain how Akwesasne Notes became the most influential aboriginal newspaper of the twentieth century.
  •  Victoria Smith Holden takes a sociological look at the inner-group dynamics of Houston’s Space City! while analyzing its rise and fall and wondering why social movement organizations are so especially vulnerable to failure.
  •  Nancy Strohl celebrates the emerging coalition between antiwar GIs and the antiwar movement at home that broke the back of the government’s war against the Vietnamese in her history of Freedom of the Press, a newspaper she produced and distributed with her husband at the naval Air Station in Yokosuka, Japan, port for the USS Midway when it was not serving as the base for bombing raids on north Vietnam.
  •  and more
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