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From "The 'Sixties Book:"

The Untold Sixties: When Hope Was Born

An Insider's Sixties On An International Scale


Brief Blurbs & Snippets, 


Table of Contents, 


and Initial Chapter

Just Published!!!

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Since  this book has now been published, many of its
chapters have been abridged, though the summary,
the opening section,  and four chapters
can still be found in their entirety.



Links to the Various Chapters

The Untold Sixties:
When Hope Was Born

An Insider's Sixties on an International Scale

By Alex Gross

A BRIEF BLURB

This is the at last it can be told story of the Sixties by the one person capable of telling it.  Effortlessly moving in its first-person narrative from London's rock scene to Berlin's student radicals to Amsterdam's practical pranksters to a whole range of American causes and crises, the author provides the definitive answer to a soon-to-be-disgraced vice-president's claim that all the national movements of the Sixties were guided by an inter-national conspiracy-"to the extent that there was any such plot, it was probably me."


This book explains once and for all how hope was born, struggled against all odds, and ultimately prevailed during the Sixties, only to be forgotten by later generations. And how such hope can be rekindled again today.

During the Sixties the author wrote for and occasionally edited major underground newspapers in London, New York, Berlin, and Amsterdam.  He was also the principal founder of the Art Workers Coalition, a group of radical artists who demonstrated in New York and elsewhere.


THE UNTOLD SIXTIES is three books in one:

The definitive history of what really happened during the Sixties in four different countries as told by an author who lived every minute of it.

A real-life spy story—in order to make the Sixties happen, it frequently became necessary to work on the edges of—or even totally outside—the rules of conventional society in several different countries.

A genuine time-travel adventure—most of this book was first written during the mid-'Seventies, when the events it describes were still fresh in the author's mind.  This means that you will be taking a genuine time trip back to the 'Sixties, complete with all its tensions and excitement, and be able to relive a past era as though you yourself were right in the middle.

You'll take part in the earliest days of the "Swinging London" scene, watch police in Berlin beating everyone in sight, enjoy the utopian pleasures of Amsterdam, and witness the birth and growth of a group of artists who came close to bringing New York’s  cultural world to a stand-still.

And all of it narrated by an underground journalist and Sixties leader who played a major role in planning and instigating everything he describes.

This is the book about the Sixties you have been waiting for, the At Last It Can Be Told Story of what actually happened and why.  And how this era still affects our present and even our future.

A brief snippet:

We once had a vice president—Agnew, the one we sent to jail—who claimed there was a sinister plot closely linking the youth movements all around the world. There was a small grain of truth to this, but on the whole he was remarkably mistaken. I should know—to the extent there was any such plot, it was probably me.

My goal throughout this book has been to make you feel all of these events again, warts and all (and there were a lot of warts). I want to summon up all these scenes again just as they occurred to me—and probably to a number of you as well.

Historians tell us that there is no history more difficult to construct than that of the recent past, for people's memories are still too fresh, and they are not able to evaluate the importance of events until long afterwards. In the case of the 'Sixties, I think the real problem is that people's forgetfulness is still too fresh. We are, as the fashionable phrase goes, in denial. That’s because many of us would prefer to forget how angry we were and how truly close to internal breakdown this nation (and several others) actually came.

Yes, I know, this all may sound arrogant, but there’s a reason for that too. It’s because a certain intellectual arrogance was also an integral part of the 'Sixties, and my account would be less than faithful to that era if I didn't try to reproduce some of that quality as well. By way of defense, it’s likely that we were considerably less arrogant than those arrayed against us. Or many of those running society today.

A lot of people like to believe that the Sixties are finally dead now. Or that they ended up failing in some earth-shattering way. Those people are wrong. The Sixties are still very much alive in each of us, perhaps most alive in those who want to believe them dead.

 
Links to online chapters & selections



Inside the Sixties: Table of Contents

Introduction to a Genuine Time Travel Spy Adventure
July, 2007

Part I: The Sixties in England

1.   England As It "Always" Was
        London, October, 1963

2.   The Sound of a New Music
        London, 1963-65

3. A Few Lucky Breaks
          London, 1964-65

4.  A Tour of Soho's Rock Clubs
        London, 1964-65

5. Inside the English Theatre World
         London, 1965-66

6. "The Beatles Are Nothing but Guttersnipes"   
          London, 1965

7. The Hustler Saints Come Marching ln
          London, 1966

8. The Rock Stars Help Start the Scene
          London, Autumn, 1966

9. The Establishment Finally Reacts
          London, 1966-67

10. The Editor’s Seat as Hot Seat
            London, 1967-68

11. "The Invisible Insurrection”
            London, 1967

12. New York & London on $5,000 a Year         
            London, Summer, 1969

13. A Farewell to Europe
            London, Summer, 197l

 
Part II: The Sixties in Germany

14. Destination Berlin
            Berlin, October, 1966

15. The CIA Says Hello
            Berlin, November, 1966

16. Visiting East Berlin              
            Berlin, 1966—68

                               Berlin, November—December, 1966

18. Germany's Kent State
           Berlin, June, 1967

19. The German Mind Explodes
            Berlin, June, 1967

20. The Berlin Commune
            Berlin, July,1967

21. "In the Beginning Was the Theory"
             Berlin, Autumn, 1967

22. "Burn, Warehouse, Burn"   
            Berlin, January, 1968

23. I Meet the Ultimate Double Agent
            London, Berlin, 1966-68

24. I Say No to the ClA      
          Berlin, December 1967—April, 1968

25. Multi-National Confusion  
           Berlin, London, Amsterdam, January—September, 1968

 
Part III: The Sixties in the US

 
 26. The Secret Life of the East Village Other                      New York, 1965-1972

27. A Very Exclusive Garden Party 
           New York, January, 1969

28. Revolutionary Chitchat in Gramercy Park          
         New York, January, 1969

29. Hatching a Plot at the Chelsea Hotel      
         New York, January, 1969

30. Can Artists Organize?             
           New York, February, 1969

31. Tactics: the Unresolved Debate      
            New York, February, 1963

32. Hand out Leaflets, or 'Off the Pigs?'    
           New York, March, 1969

33. Demonstration on Fifty-Third Street.  
           New York, March, 1969

34. "The Devil Dwells in Small Details"  
            New York, Spring, 1969

35. Publishing as Group Therapy
           New York, Spring, 1969

36. Rewarding the Museum with Pennies      
           New York, May—June 1969

37. The  Revolution Goes Away for the Summer                  New York, Spring, 1969

38. Blood in the Museum Lobby    
           New York, Autumn. 1969

39. We Occupy the Modern Museum   
            New York , November, '69--January, '70

40. Cloak and Dagger for Art      
           New York, January—February, 1970

41. The Greening of the Revolution (With Money)  
            New York, Winter, 1970

42. The Great Communist Take-Over Plot  
            New York & Chicago, April, 1970

43. Kent State— or Was It Berlin Revisited?        
          New York, May, 1970

44. I Get to Play Nixon        
             New York & St. Louis, May, 1970

45. Disaster at the Waldorf           
           New York, June, 1970

46. The Dutch Model of the Movement  
            Munich, Amsterdam, London, Summer, 1970

47. The Sixties Begin to Run Down  
            New York, September—October, 1970

48. Reflections of a "Person"  By Ilene Astrahan 
            New York, 1969—71

49. The Decline of the East Village Other  
               New York, 1968—1971

50. "Let Them Eat Cockroaches"
               New York & Washington, November '70—January, 1973

51. We Build A New Organization  
               New York, Chicago, Winter, 1970—1972

 
PART IV: A Few Conclusions...

52. Coming In From The Cold?       
                New York, Autumn 1971

53. Is There A ‘Sixties in Your Future?
     (And If So, What Would It Look Like?)
                 New York, Winter, 2007

54. Some Final Thoughts...
               New York, July, 2007

 
** AFTERGLOW **

______________________________________________

FINAL SECTION:

Notes on the Text

Appendix I: The Evolution of the Coalition’s Thirteen Demands.

Appendix II: List of Author’s Articles in UK, Dutch, and US Underground Newspapers, 1966—1971

 
Links to online chapters & selections


Here's the Prelude to this book:

 
Prelude to a Time Travel Spy Story Truthful History
October, 2009

 

If you're hesitant about buying this book, think of it this way.  What you're actually getting is three books in one. This is not merely the authoritative, first-hand history of the Sixties in at least four different countries. It is also necessarily a spy story—the reason for this is easy to explain.  Simply in order to carry out the goals of the Sixties, it frequently became necessary to function on the edges of—or even totally outside—the rules of conventional society.  My very first title for this book was in fact Counter-Cultural Agent, which comes close to describing the role I played as a leader and underground journalist in several nations.

But you are also holding in your hands a perfectly genuine example of time travel, and in these pages I will in fact be taking you back to a past era.  To do so, I will need to escort you painlessly across two separate time-warps.  Passing through the first one will take you to the mid-'Seventies, when my memory of Sixties events was still quite fresh. And when almost all of this book was written. 

But then we have a second time-warp to cross, all the way to 1963, when Ilene and I first arrived in England. From our flat in Redcliffe Square we were almost unwittingly granted the privilege of witnessing and even helping to lead the events which transformed that nation. 

And after a few years in England I will once again safely escort you into the heart of Sixties radical politics, the opposing twin cities of West and East Berlin. And finally I'll bring you safely back to the US, where I founded an organization that came close to bringing the New York  cultural world to a stand-still.

You don't have to take my word that the events I'm about to describe are altogether real, nor that this book was truly written several decades ago, indeed during another millennium.  By the time you read this account, several editors will have been busy comparing this text with its pitiful 1970s Olivetti-22 typescript version, full of crossed out phrases and hand-scrawled substitutions.

Authorities on English and German events have also gone through the book and found no fault with the events described, though of course the opinions expressed are the author's.  The entire book, with the exception of this preface and the two final chapters, was truly written during another age and culture.  Any later reflections in its pages are carefully differentiated from the earlier text.

So whether the Sixties already mean something to you, or you're simply reading about that era for the first time, in either case you have something of an adventure awaiting you. 

But be careful—these transitions between time and culture zones may not be as smooth as the ones TV and science fiction stories have to offer.  You'll bump into some real changes in perspective that may require a bit of adjustment. You'll even find some oddities in the  style, the sort of effect we usually describe as quaint or camp. Most important, you will be directly experiencing through another person's eyes what it felt like to be alive  forty-five years ago. You just might be thrown slightly off-balance by the contrasts between the real Sixties, what you thought the Sixties were,  and today's everyday values.  So do proceed with caution.

What else can I tell you that might be helpful?  Not too much, I'm afraid.  You'll be on your own any moment now, because the first time-warp is coming up right now. Most of the next words you read were written in 1974.

TIME-WARP # 1:

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FOREWARNING:

Well, that didn't quite work, but it's sure to next time.  I warned you it would take two time-warps. About half of this section was written in 1974, the rest more recently.  That's because there are still a few thoughts I need to share with you from the perspective of both today and yesterday.

In some ways this is really a spy story. That's because I often felt like a spy during the Sixties, and you'll soon see why. The events I'm about to describe were quite fresh in my mind during the mid-'Seventies when I first wrote all of this down, and I've changed almost none of it since.

Back then I had a lot of work to do. There was no one I could answer to. I kept listening to my conscience, and I chose my causes carefully. Things are quieter now, and I've had some time to think about what happened during those years.

Historians tell us that there is no history more difficult to construct than that of the recent past, for people's memories are still too fresh, and they are not able to evaluate the importance of events until long afterwards. In the case of the Sixties, I think the real problem is that people's forgetfulness is still too fresh. We are, as the fashionable phrase goes, in denial. That's because many of us would prefer to forget how angry we were and how truly close to internal breakdown this nation (and several others) actually came.

Despite such admonitions from historians, my goal throughout this book has been to make you feel all of these events again, warts and all (and there were a lot of warts). I want to summon them up again just as they occurred to me-and probably to a number of other readers as well. If in so doing I incur the blame directed toward those who raise up unwanted spectres from the past or the reproach of orthodox historians, I have once again no intention of apologizing.

Yes, I know, this may sound arrogant, but there's a reason for that too. It's because a certain intellectual arrogance was also an integral part of the Sixties, and my account would be less than faithful to that era if I didn't try to reproduce some of that quality as well. By way of defense, it's likely that we were considerably less arrogant than those arrayed against us. Or some of those still running society today.

A few people-really a very few people when you get down to it, despite all the crowds and banners and marches-decided they didn't like what was going on in a number of Western countries, and they made up their minds to do something about it.

They didn't really know each other, many of them had never met even once, in fact some never even realized the others existed. It isn't terribly surprising that they failed in a number of ways—what is far more remarkable is all the ways in which they either succeeded or came close to succeeding. Their success is still alive in all of us.

Looking back on that era, all most of us can see right now is an enormous crowd scene, with more action going on than anyone could ever follow and a cast of millions.

But a lot of what I did, I had to do alone-or nearly so. There was almost no one I could share my reasoning with. Of course I realize I was only a small player in a vast spectacle. We all played our part in that gigantic crowd scene, and I don't want to make my role seem more important than anyone else's.

It's just that my Sixties may have been a bit different from yours. I was constantly moving back and forth between Europe and the US, and I had a chance to see how things fit together on a world-wide scale. Even China had an important role to play for many of us back then. And all the time I was keeping my eyes open, trying to understand what was really going on in that crowd scene, what had made it happen in the first place, where it was headed next.

We ran through a whole lot of words to describe who we were and what we thought we were doing: "counter-culture," "youth culture," "underground," "new left," "the scene," "the movement," "the youth movement," even "revolution"—I'm not too concerned about all those words, and even if a few of them have become clichés in the meantime, it doesn't really matter.

The ideas—that's something else. Maybe an idea can't ever become a cliché—if it's a real idea, it just goes on and on, remaining as valid as it ever was, and it's the words that do the fading-or our human understanding of them. When you run through that many words that fast, it shows that something fairly important must have been happening, and people couldn't quite make up their minds about it.

We once had a vice president—Agnew, the one we sent to jail—who claimed there was a sinister plot closely linking the youth movements all around the world. There was a small grain of truth to this, but on the whole he was remarkably mistaken. I should know-to the extent there was any such plot, it was probably me.

A lot of people like to believe that the Sixties are finally dead now. Or that they ended up failing in some earth-shattering way. Those people are wrong. The Sixties are still very much alive in each of us, perhaps most alive in those who want to believe them dead.

Returning to the Sixties is likely to be a shock even for those who lived through the era. But the time travel effect is likely to be most extreme for anyone under 45, who was at best five or six years old in 1970. Even those who are now 50 can have been no more than nine or ten. In other words, the majority of people now living have  no direct experience of the Sixties and have been entirely dependent on tales told by others to condemn or embellish the era.

I know I must sound self-willed and irresponsible just from the way I'm going on about this.  But I promise that in the final chapter I will confront my fast and loose manner with the views of the major figures in historiography, Thucydides, Ibn Khaldûn, Toynbee and the rest.  And I wouldn't be surprised if my approach doesn't come off fairly well by comparison.

It's pretty simple: in this book I'll be trying to tell you what I think that period was really about. But I'll have to tell it in my own way, just as I had to do things my own way back then. And if the CIA or MI5 or anyone left over from the Communist Party doesn't like it-well, that's just too bad.

That's the way it has to be. Because that is the only way for "Counter Cultural Agent."

 
And now it's time to cross our second time warp, this one far more extreme than the first one.  When we come out on the other side, we will be fully immersed in a remarkably different culture, the England of the early Sixties.  And a few chapters later in Berlin, Amsterdam, and a number of other places as well.  So prepare yourself for a change of mood and typestyle.  Turn the page...

 

TIME-WARP # 2:

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Part One: The Sixties in England

1. England As It "Always" Was&ldots; 
London, October, 1963

In October of 1963 a boat train from Paris discharged two young Americans at Victoria Station in London. There was outwardly little to distinguish these two Americans from many who had arrived there before...

 
And this is where you would land if you were reading the complete book, a chapter describing the arrival of  the author and his wife in London during  the early days of the Sixties.

Instead, feel free to read the other sample chapters included in this section of the website...

 

Links to the Various Chapters


Menu of Articles & Papers on Other Themes

Reviews of the Book So Far...

Contact the author via email

Contact the author via Twitter

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT:
This book outline is Copyright © 2007
by Alexander Gross. It may be
reproduced for individuals and for
educational purposes only. It may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the author.

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