Happy Memorial Day: Kill Anything That Moves

Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013), by Nick Turse, is an amazing book. I hated reading it. I hope every reader feels the same, and that he has lots of readers. This is the book that pulls together all the threads of horror stories that the antiwar movement shouted to our home communities, to our elected leaders, and to our war-supporting corporate newspapers that censored us and provoked us to create the independent, antiwar underground press.


Throughout every chapter I kept saying, “I get the point. Do I have to read more?”

But I felt obligated to finish it. As a good American who loves my country even while I despise our corporate foreign policy, I felt obligated. As a Jew who is motivated more by our tradition of “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you” (Jesus stole this one from Hillel and got rid of the double negatives; as a professional editor, I would have done the same) than I am by mindless rituals of religious fanatics who cite God and creative bigotry to claim control over where Palestinians live and Jewish women pray, I felt obligated. As a practicing zen phony who sees everyone and everything as part of the same whole, I felt obligated.

Every chapter recounted instances of American atrocities against the Vietnamese people. The message was that My Lai, the massacre that shocked our collective conscience when it was exposed, was not an exception. It was the rule. And, in fact, it wasn’t even the worst example of the rule. Turse names names and provides statistics. Most touching were the interviews with Vietnamese survivors. It was easier to condone their deaths, or to not be moved to action by them, when they were faceless. It is impossible now if you have any humanity, though it is still possible with our recent and current wars in the Mideast. Those books remain to be written.

The military followed what Turse called the “mere-gook rule,” or MGR:

The notion that Vietnam’s inhabitants were something less than human was often spoken of as the “mere-gook rule,” or, in the acronym-mad military, the MGR. This held that all Vietnamese—northern and southern, adults and children, armed enemy and innocent civilian—were little more than animals, who could be killed or abused at will. The MGR enabled soldiers to abuse children for amusement; it allowed officers sitting in judgment at courts-martial to let off murderers with little or no punishment; and it paved the way for commanders to willfully ignore rampant abuses by their troops while racking up “kills” to win favor at the Pentagon.

To show that this attitude went all the way to the top, in his next paragraph, he quotes General William Westmoreland, who commanded the U.S. military effort in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968 and then went on to serve four years as U.S. Army Chief of Staff: “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does the Westerner. Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient. As the philosophy of the Orient expresses it, life is not important.”

And so during the Vietnam War years we read in the corporate media about how the Vietnamese would walk behind their children so that any bombs that lay hidden in the fields would be detonated by the touch of the children and spare the adults. In Kill Anything That Moves, Turse reveals that it was the GIs who made the Vietnamese walk in front.

We leveled hamlets, killed northerners (the “enemy”) and southerners (our “allies”) equally, indiscriminately murdered noncombatants, raped women, and, yes, killed babies.

As I read about one atrocity after the next, I wondered how I would summarize them in a review. Would I choose one instance over another and call it the worst? Would I list several and call them typical? Would I reel off a string of statistics so gruesome that they become numbing?

In the end, I closed the book and my eyes, then opened both and pointed. I found my finger pointing to page one of chapter 6, titled “The Bummer, the ‘Gook-Hunting’ General, and the Butcher of the Delta.” I encourage you to get the book so you can read about the latter two perverts.

The Bummer was

Sergeant Roy Bumgarner of the army’s 1st Cavalry Division and then 173rd Airborne Brigade in Binh Dinh Province, a soldier who reportedly amassed an astonishing personal body count of more than 1,500 enemy KIAs [killed in action], sometimes logging more kills with his six-man ‘wildcat’ team than the rest of his 500-man battalion combined.

Private Arthur Williams, a GI who was repulsed by what he saw (and he was hardly the exception; the same was true of many GIs throughout the war), reported on Bumgarner’s leading role in multiple incidents of murder of unarmed farmers and children and was labeled a malcontent.

The extended passage goes on to give further examples of Bumgarner’s actions and note GIs who leveled charges against him. At his subsequent trial, however, “superior officers and fellow sergeants lined up to praise the thirty-eight-year-old sergeant as a model combat leader.” In his own testimony, he showed off the medals he had earned, including a Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration awarded for valor in combat. One of the witnesses was a GI who had formerly spoken out against Bumgarner. By the time of the trial, he had, assumedly under pressure, recanted his testimony and now supported Bumgarner.

In the end, Bumgarner was in fact convicted, but only of unpremeditated murder. He never spent a single day in prison for his crimes. Instead, for the deaths of three innocent Vietnamese civilians, he was sentenced only to be reduced in rank and fined ninety-seven dollars a month for twenty-four months. On appeal, that, in turn, was reduced to six months.

He continued to serve in Vietnam. While reduced in rank to a private, he eventually made it back to sergeant.

Just how many civilians died at Bumgarner’s hand will never be known, but we do know this: He killed innocent people simply because they were Vietnamese and then labeled them as enemy dead. He mutilated bodies and planted weapons on those he murdered to conceal his crimes. He instructed subordinates to take part in his misdeeds and then help cover them up. And he trained countless impressionable young men in his methods. The military knew all of this and still welcomed his continued service. Roy Bumgarner could have been stopped, but instead the military was his enabler.

Here I disagree with Turse. In particular, I object to the word “enabler.” The connotation is that he had a problem and the military passively encouraged it by not actively discouraging it. Think Uncle Joe the drunk who is treated as the life of the party because of his hilarious inebriation-induced antics instead of the sick alcoholic in need of help that he is. Uncle Joe’s family members may not call him out for his sickness but you know that the healthier members are at least embarrassed by him. Certainly they don’t hold him up as a shining role model for the next generation.

The military did. They didn’t just enable Bumgarner. They created him. They actively encouraged him. They benefited from his actions. They rewarded him and allowed him to train his young subordinates to become like him.

Our troops came home from Vietnam craving a welcome-home parade. They wanted to be treated like heroes, like the returning World War II veterans. But they weren’t heroes. Individuals like Private Arthur Williams performed heroic acts, but how, in general, can our GIs have been heroes when they fought on the side of the bad guys, which is where history has solidly placed the United States? Our government was the enemy. Those GIs who were drafted against their will or who enlisted willingly but had their eyes opened once they were overseas were victims. When we honor them this Memorial Day, how about offering a national “We’re sorry”? How about promising, in their honor and the memory of those who are no longer with us or are living in cardboard boxes, to never again send young soldiers—or drone missiles—off to countries where we are not wanted and that have not threatened our national security? How about honoring our veterans by giving them medical care to at least alleviate the damage that we caused them; and then providing them with decent jobs to help them live decent lives and raise decent, peace-loving families here at home?

During the Vietnam War, the antiwar community on both sides of the ocean were the heroes. In the military, the greatest heroes were those GIs, in every branch of service, who courageously turned against the war. Turse notes that “By 1971, antiwar GIs were producing hundreds of underground newspapers that encouraged disobedience and rebellion.” More clearly, as Harry Haines and James Lewes have documented (see Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2), over 500 underground newspapers were published by or directed to members of the military, all branches. Further research by Lewes since the book’s release has uncovered at least 300 more. These GIs were heroes.

On this Memorial Day, let’s follow the parades led by veterans of the GI underground press and by members of the heroic Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the successor groups that have been inspired by subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In this coming year, let’s work to reduce the number of future veterans.

Ken Reflects on Four Sealed Boxes

I waited seventeen years to see the amazing stories in Voices from the Underground back in print. The interim period affected my husbandhood, my fatherhood, my livelihood, and my health. At times the enormity of turning one oversized 8 ½ x 11, 2-column format, 600+-page landmark record of the Vietnam era (1993 edition) into four separate books, all updated, expanded, and revised, overwhelmed me and led me to periods of despondency and hopelessness. At others, it revved me up so much I was unstoppable. But most of all, I never halted my forward movement. I fell often, but I got up every time as I pestered contributors whose stories needed updating, searched out images to bring their stories to life, and, once the demise of the economy made my publishing four volumes myself impossible, challenged publishers to commit to publishing four books on the same commercially esoteric subject. Meanwhile, I watched helplessly as contributors—who like me were young twenty years ago when I first approached them—moved on to their next spiritual adventures, and I felt the urgency of getting the stories out before I lost any others.

And so last night I came home from a long night of writing and found inside the door four boxes that Emily had picked up at MSU Press in East Lansing. Sixty-two copies of volume 1, Insider  Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 1, most of which were pre-ordered from supporters, the others of which I will sell so I can purchase more inventory or give away to loved ones.

I wanted to share the adventure of opening the first box with Emily, whose patience and eternal love while I was working on the books will go down in history as heroic, but she hadn’t yet arrived home from her play rehearsal. At the same time, I had to pack lunch for today, eat a late dinner, and then prepare for a 7:00 meeting this morning with my sales force. By the time Emily got home, I was feeling rushed. The mood was all wrong. Opening the box would be better today, I decided, but Emily will be spending tonight in Lansing, where she works during the day, to spare her one long back-and-forth drive from and to Ann Arbor.

So I decided instead to once again put off opening that first box. I looked at all four boxes every time I walked by them going to and from the kitchen. Once or twice, I paused, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath, thanked the forces around me that kept me going, and vibed a successful future for the new, four-volume Voices from the Underground Series.

Tomorrow night we’ll celebrate with wine or champagne, Emily’s choice. Then we’ll look through the first book together, and when we’re done I’ll inscribe it for her.

Introducing the Voices from the Underground Website

I am pleased today to introduce the Voices from the Underground website. The multi-page site is a celebration and a unique study of the underground press from the Vietnam era.

The underground press was the voice of the antiwar movement that led the long struggle to halt our own government’s crimes against the people of Vietnam. While the corporate press was largely parroting the government line about lights at the end of the tunnel and Vietnamization and enemy body counts that surpassed the total population of Vietnam, the patriots of the underground press exposed our true history of aggression, joined in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, and became the voice of peace that forced our government to withdraw our troops.

The task they faced was the task that today’s bloggers face in our efforts to get our government out of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Underground papers were a phenomenon made possible by what was then the new technology of offset printing. Suddenly, owning your own paper was not a possibility reserved for the rich and powerful. Left-wing, radical, liberal, progressive communities all over the country started their own papers to oppose the war but also to strengthen their emerging communities and liberation movements. Through networks like Underground Press Syndicate, Liberation News Service, and others, they joined together as a network, sharing resources and knowledge and strength. All underground papers were united in solid opposition to the war. They were a powerful force, locally and nationally. They were everywhere.

And yet today they are little known. In fact, the entire antiwar movement is little known, and for good reason. No corporate government wants its citizens to know that if they unite and speak up they can overcome their government’s imperial tendencies. So, today the Vietnam War is barely discussed in high school, or it is discussed at a superficial level that glosses over the antiwar movement. College journalism classes don’t touch the underground press, even though it was arguably a highpoint in our young country’s celebration of journalism and the First Amendment, America’s greatest gift to the world.

Today’s progressive bloggers are heirs to the underground press tradition, and yet most don’t know what the underground press was.

The four-volume Voices from the Underground Series changes that. It addresses the underground press like no other book before it, by giving voice to insiders who were key people on their own papers. Although all underground papers were united against the war, individual papers spoke to different audiences. Papers represented the gay, lesbian, feminist, Black, Puerto Rican, Native American, prisoners’ rights, rank-and-file, psychedelic, Southern consciousness, new age, socialist, military, and other voices of the many liberation movements that arose during that period.

Those voices are represented in the Voices from the Underground Series.

So, if you’ve read this far, take a look at the website. I talk about the underground press and then I give you a sneak preview into all four books, which will be released one at a time over a period of two years. I share testimonials here and here from academics and activists and media reviewers. And, while you’re waiting for your books to arrive in the mail, I share a few excerpts from other books of mine: Early Wachsberger.

Volume 1 will be officially available in January 2011 but it is expected to be in the Michigan State University Press warehouse in early December and I’ll be helping to distribute them. So don’t wait until December. Order now and take advantage of my special pre-publication price. It’s easy. Just go through PayPal.

I want to thank MSU Press for their support of Voices from the Underground. What I compiled was the equivalent of four books. I couldn’t help it. The material was there, and so was the commitment from my contributors. If they had said, “Give us just enough to fill one volume,” I would have said, “Catch you later.” But they recognized, as did I, that every story was amazing in its own way so they bought into my vision of four separate volumes. In this horrible economy, they deserve credit.

I also want to thank Hillary Handwerger for helping to turn my words into this website and Jim Campbell for producing the video.

Bring It Back, Take It Forward Conference Schedule: See You There

In my last post, I wrote about the upcoming activists’ conference at University of Michigan this coming weekend. Here’s the conference schedule, with times and locations.

A list of community and U-M sponsors is at the bottom.

Quick summary of times:

  • Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday: open dialogue session beginning at 12 p.m.

Quick summary of locations:

  • Friday and Saturday: Rackham Building, 915 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor
  • Sunday: School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University Ave. Ann Arbor


FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010 

Session 1 – (10:00 AM -12:00 PM)

Rackham Amphitheater

Black Action Movement (BAM), Anti-racism and Pro-diversity Activism Panel featuring Joann Watson, Hank Bryant, and Ron Scott.

Session 2 – (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Health Activism Panel featuring James C. Mitchiner and Carrie Rheingans

Session 3- (3:15 PM to 5:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Immigrant Rights Panel featuring Arturo Rodriguez, Mohammad Abd,  Evelyn Galvan, and Laura Sanders with Moderator Adriana Lopez

Session 4 – (7:00 PM to 10:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Labor and Economics Panel featuring Arturo Rodriguez, Dean Baker, and Yousef Rabhi with Moderator Rebekah Warren

Movement Panel: What is ‘IT’? featuring Bill Ayers, Rick Feldman, Laura Russello, Ron Scott, and Bob Zellner with Moderator Alan Haber


Session 5 – (9:00 AM – 10:30 AM)

Rackham Amphitheater

Environmental Panel featuring Parker Pennington IV and Bunyan Bryant

Session 6 – (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM)

Rackham Assembly Hall

Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay (TBLG) Panel featuring Caitlin Ehlers, Katie Strode, and Donna Wasserman with Moderators Jim Toy and Laura Wernick

Session 7 – (10:45 AM – 12:30 PM)

Rackham Amphitheater

Independent Media from the Underground Press to Today Panel featuring Mike Dover, Roshaun Harris, Ken Wachsberger, Harvey Wasserman, and John Woodford with Moderator Mary Morgan

Session 8 – (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Feminist Panel featuring Jan BenDor, Kathy Fojtik Stroud, and Catherine McClary

Session 9- (3:15 PM to 5:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Peace Panel in honor of Professor J. David Singer featuring Alan Haber, Odile Hugonot Haber, Judith Kullberg, Andy Lichterman, Richard Stahler-Sholk. and Paul Williamson

Session 10 – (5:00 PM to 6:00 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Free Speech Session with Jonathan Rose

Session 11 – (6:00 PM to 7:30 PM)

Rackham Auditorium

Activist Panel featuring Chuck Ream, Nancy Romer, and Rosemary Sarri

Session 12 – (7:30 PM to 11:00 PM)

Young activists with Yusef Shakur, Invincible, Drag King Rebellion, and Riot Youth’s Gayrilla Theater

SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2010

Session 11 – (12:00 PM)

Take It Forward Session featuring an open dialogue on the future.

 * * *

Community Sponsors: The Ann Arbor District Library, Gray Panthers of Washtenaw, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), National Writers Union-Southeast Michigan Chapter (NWU-SEM), Social Welfare Action Alliance (SWAA), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

University of Michigan Sponsors:, Anthropology Department, Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Literature Science and the Arts, Community Action and Social Change Undergraduate Minor (CASC), Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Ginsberg Center,  History Department, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Program in American Culture, School of Social Work, Law School, and the TBLG Matters Initiative.

Volume 1 Files Finally Received from Publisher

I spent the long Presidents’ Day weekend reviewing the frontmatter and initial stories from volume 1 of the Dissident Press Series, Voices from the Underground: Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press. After so many months of sending files to Michigan State University Press, finally receiving files back from them, for both the stories and the images, made it all feel real.

I’m pleased so far with their work. Files showed electronic coding, of course. That’s how book pages are prepared in this electronic age.

Most of the other editing was light, mostly for the mundane purpose of bringing my style into conformity with theirs and being consistent. Uppercasing or lowercasing: “Leftist” or “leftist”; “Communist” or “communist”?  When should I spell out numbers one to ten? When should I use numerals? Context matters, and I have my own preferences as a long-time editor. But after editing some 1,500 pages from the four volumes I couldn’t remember which way I went for what context every single time. Long ago, I resolved that I would just do my best and go with their style. They made lots of those types of changes. Thanks, MSU Press.

Beyond that, they showed deep respect for the writing of my contributors and for my own editing as the series editor. As MSUP’s in-house project editor for the series wrote, “Our aim was to correct or query any apparent errors or omissions and to impose a book-level style in purely mechanical matters (for example, in the decision of how to render mentions of decades—between, say, seventies, nineteen seventies, and 1970s), while allowing variation in matters that could be considered more than mechanical (such as the decision of whether to capitalize the racial nominations black/Black and white/White).”

Also, the title, Dissident Press Series, is now official. For those reasons I am grateful, for the respect they showed our work and because I do not have to send the files back to my contributors just to have them say, “It’s still okay.”

The only disappointment I’m feeling is that volume 1 won’t be out until the end of this year. Our initial tentative publication date was May 2010. The other part of the plan, to release a new volume every six months until all four are out, is still intact.

On the bright side, the whole process has taught me patience.

I’ll be writing more about volume 1 in coming weeks, especially as we get closer to publication date. In the meantime, if you’re interested in being part of my mailing list, please write to me at info@azenphonypress.com.

Goodbye, Andy. You will be missed.

Andy died Friday, six days short of his 81st birthday. We got the call Friday evening from his daughter. Andy and Joanne were our neighbors, the best we’ve ever had.

Andy was a hard-core Republican but not one of the wingnuts. He was conservative and was certain that the election of Barack Obama would mean higher taxes, but you never heard him say an evil word about Obama. He knew I was a veteran anti-Vietnam war activist, editor of an antiwar underground press anthology, and union organizer but he respected me because I lived my beliefs without hating others who disagreed with me. I felt the same about Andy, a retired army colonel whose son followed him into the military.

Despite the many years that separated us, Andy, Joanne, Emily, and I socialized often and shared special events together. They attended David’s Bar Mitzvah and Carrie’s Bat Mitzvah, as well as parties at our home. We were special guests at their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Emily and Andy shared a November 5 birthday so she never forgot to send him a card.

Andy and Joanne were the last of the original homeowners in our neighborhood. They had a lot of pride in their home and in the neighborhood. In retirement Andy kept busy and in shape by working around the yard. He cut his lawn every week in the summer and made a point of cutting ours, too, but just the front, the side that was seen by passersby. He loved his snow blower. In the winter, never did more than an inch of snow settle on his drive or sidewalk before he was outside blowing it into the snowdrifts. Our yard benefited from his passion. He and Joanne walked often to the Kroger at the end of our street, until economic times turned the shopping center into abandoned property.

Then this past May, Andy got word that he had pancreatic cancer. He made the decision not to fight it. He just didn’t want to mess with the chemo that accompanies treatment, he said. He figured his time was up. He had lived a good life and was ready to go with the flow. Of course, he never used those words. A zen interpretation of his future would have been totally out of character for him. Nor was the idea of trying alternative treatments, like acupuncture or herbs.

But he did become more spiritual in his outlook. Emily and I both sensed it. And so Emily and I were able to talk to him about his decision and his upcoming death. As his body shrunk from a stocky 200-plus pounds to the 130 range, he joked about losing weight. We told him to let us know what life was like on the other side when he got there.

Andy’s biggest regret was that he would not be here for Joanne, a retired nurse who now requires medical care herself and was recently moved to a facility where she can get the care she needs.   

Last Saturday, October 24, the ambulance came to take Andy to hospice where he could get the round-the-clock care he now needed. We waited by our kitchen door, which faced his home, so we could say goodbye. As he was rolled to the ambulance on the stretcher, Emily and I approached him. He couldn’t speak but he extended his hand to each of us so he could connect with us one last time. Emily reminded him that they had an upcoming birthday to celebrate together. I told him to keep in touch.

Andy is fortunate to have five loving children, four of whom live in town, so Joanne will not be left alone. That fact alone was comforting to him. What we learned from them was that he was conscious when the grandchildren visited him that last week, but soon after he stopped eating. For the last two days of his life he was in a coma, so his next adventure began easily and painlessly.

Barnes & Noble Celebrates National Authors Day: Invites Me to Sell Books


Sunday is National Authors Day. To celebrate, Barnes & Noble, on Washtenaw in Ann Arbor by Whole Foods and my favorite Panera, is inviting authors to sell their books in two-hour shifts. I was invited to be one of them so, first of all, I hope anyone reading this will visit me any time from 3 to 5 Sunday November 1 and bring your friends. Secondly, I hope you’ll buy a few books to enjoy and to give away as gifts for the holiday season.

Some of my books are temporarily out of print. Here are the ones I’ll have with me:

  • Transforming Lives: A Socially Responsible Guide to the Magic of Writing and Researching: the first textbook devoted to helping students turn Ken Macrorie’s brilliant I-Search idea into a full-length, life-changing research project while demystifying the process of writing and researching, arousing their curiosity, and awakening their dormant passion for expressing themselves through writing. So student-friendly it’s been called “the anti-textbook.” If you’re a teacher of writing whose students don’t want to be in your class because they hate or fear writing, this book is for you. It’s been used successfully at the high school and Freshman college level as well as by individual writers who want to find or regain the flow.
  • Beercans on the Side of the Road: The Story of Henry the Hitchhiker: called a cult classic by someone whose name I long forgot but whose characterization I have ever since used. Henry’s story, the adventure of a young college dropout hitchhiker in search of the perfect flow and what it means to be a writer, came out of my hitchhiking years during the seventies when I established my reputation as the foremost expert on intranational hitchhiking in the country.
  • The Ballad of Ken and Emily: or, Tales from the Counterculture: a collection of short stories, poems, head trips, essays, and journal entries including “Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Growing Up as a New Left Jew” (an analysis of the Yippie literature from a Jewish perspective as well as a history of the Jewish Left in America and an account of the Yippies and Zippies in Miami Beach in the summer of 1972); “Accidental Revolutionary” (a fictionalized version of my first political arrest following the Kent State murders in May 1970); “Diary of a Mad Anarchist” parts 1 and 2 (May Day 1971 in D.C. during the May Day demonstrations; May 1972, Madison, Wisconsin, after Nixon blockaded Haiphong Harbor), plus “Being in Jail Is Like Finals Week” (because, in case you didn’t notice it, all three arrests happened in May), “Yo Ho Ho-Ulp” (my brief life as a gillnetter in Sebasco, Maine), “The Busy Person’s Guide to Street Yoga” (how I kept limber and in shape while on the road), and more.
  • The Last Selection: A Child’s Journey through the Holocaust: an amazing story about a girl who spent time in Auschwitz during World War II. If you know about Dr. Mengele, you know about the selections. At one point the war ended. Before that, you had— the last selection. Thirteen-year old Goldie was in it, the only child along with her mother and a hundred other women. This is the only book that gives you “life in the gas chamber.” I co-wrote the book with her current husband Sylvan Kalib.
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book: Like all the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, this one is an anthology of contributions from lots of folks connected with the subject. This time, one of the contributions is mine, an excerpt from my booklet, Your Partner Has Breast Cancer?: 21 Ways to Keep Sane as a Support Person. I’ll have copies of the book and the booklet.

Finally, I’ll have information on my upcoming Dissident Press Series, which Michigan State University Press will be publishing in four parts beginning with the first in May 2010 and followed every six months by another until all four are out. Stories are written by insiders of underground papers—the predecessors to today’s progressive blogs—representing the Black, Puerto Rican, feminist, lesbian, gay, socialist, psychedelic, Southern consciousness, rank-and-file, prisoners’ rights, military, Native American, and other antiwar voices from the Vietnam era.

I hope to see you there. You can always purchase books from my web site but if you show up you don’t have to pay shipping and handling.

Landmark Vietnam Antiwar Opus to Be Updated and Expanded

Friends, it’s been a long time in coming but I’m pleased to announce that contractual details have been finalized for Michigan State University Press to publish an expanded, revised version of my anthology, Voices from the Underground: Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press (Mica Press, 1993). In its new iteration it will appear as four separate books with the first appearing in 2010 followed every six months by another until all four are out.

The book was called “the most important book on American journalism published in my lifetime” by one reviewer (In These Times) and was named one of the five most important books in the field of communication for 1993 (Choice). 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.” Unfortunately, it went out of print long before it reached its potential audience and the small publisher was unable to bring it back.

Voices from the Underground is a series of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam era as told by key people on each of the papers. The underground press was the dissident press of the Vietnam era, the independent press that told the true story, which the corporate papers suppressed, of what our government was doing behind our backs to the Vietnam people in our name and with our tax dollars.

Stories in the first edition of Voices from the Underground represent the gay, lesbian, feminist, Black, Puerto Rican, military, prisoners’ rights, socialist, new age, Southern consciousness, psychedelic, and other independent antiwar voices of the era as never before told. New to this second edition are stories representing the Native American and rank-and-file independent voices.

Forewords from the first edition, by Chicago Seed veteran Abe Peck and attorney William Kunstler, will again be featured along with a new foreword by Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, the most important progressive blog site of today’s new media.

With our country in another useless war, this time in two countries, the timing couldn’t be better for publication of these stories. Markos’ 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 MSU Press is a non-profit university publisher whose mission is to be a catalyst for positive intellectual, social, and technological change through the publication of research and intellectual inquiry, making significant contributions to scholarship in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. 

More information on the first edition of Voices from the Underground may be found at www.azenphonypress.com.