Excerpts from the book's early reviews...
John Wilcock, Journalist, Editor, Grandfather of the Underground Press (US & UK):
TRUE TO ITS TITLE, The Untold Sixties offers a rare insight into how the underground alternate society in Europe blended with its counterpart in America and confirms how its author, Alex Gross, is the perfect person to report the story.
It was a time of offshore pirate radio stations presenting the latest tunes from those four Liverpudlians, but music and the miniskirt were early stirrings of the change that was to come.
At last there was a meeting place for the young and hip to meet and Jim Haynes presence was an example of how London life was being transformed by outsidersBill Levy, an American who later edited IT, Britains first underground paper; Australian Richard Neville (OZ Magazine) and Gross himself in addition to numerous others.
The launch of the tabloid IT (International Times), with its blatant espousal of sex, drugs, pop culture and anarchism was greeted with stunned disbelief that such a paper could even exist Big event was the Round House, an old engine switching barn transformed into a hippy wonderland with light shows, rock groups, pot everywhere and arrivals handed an (innocent) lump of sugar. All this was followed by the predictable British hypocrisy that although there was officially no censorship it proved almost impossible to get either a printer to print the paper or a distributor to handle it.
Theres lots more in this seminal work but the message is best summed up in Gross introduction: 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.
Gabe Bokor, Founder and Editor, Translation Journal (US):
When Alex Gross suggested that I review his book, I told him about my misgivings: I was not in the US during the 60s, Ive never participated in radical political movements, and know nothing or almost nothing about most things Alex is an expert inart, theater, journalism, and Chinese medicine, among other things. He sent me the book anyway and, to my surprise, I found it spellbinding to the point that I could barely force myself to put it down before I had gone through its 700 pages.
The Untold Sixties is an account of those turbulent times, told by a leader of and active participant in the counterculture movement. He takes us from London to Berlin to Amsterdam to New York, presenting us with a fascinating set of characters and events most of us have only read about, viewed with a journalists analytic eyes and a participants passion.
And, while doing so, he makes interesting comparisons between the peoples involved, their cultures, their languages, and their different approaches to similar problems: the British with their keen sense of class and of proper behaviour, the Germans with their rational mindset and organizational talent, the Dutch, tolerant and practical, and the Americans with their independent thinking and individualism. Alex does not indulge in stereotypes, but analyzes each nations idiosyncrasies from a historical perspective, showing how those idiosyncrasies influenced their respective movements and their outcomes. (full review available at http://www.accurapid.com/journal/ starting April, 2010)
Claudia Dreifus, Journalist, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute (US):
Before bloggers and the Internet, there was the underground press of the 1960s. Alex Gross, who covered the art scene for the grand-daddy of all the underground newspapers, the East Village Other, was at the center of the story. This book is how he saw it. And lived it!
5 out of 5 stars
Well worth the read for those looking to get a better understanding of the decade, Midwest Book Review (US):
The ideas of hope and change reside side by side, and have been for over fifty years. The Untold 60s: When Hope Was Born discusses the birth of hope and its union with change, as throughout the world, it was rapidly changing. Revolution was the name of the game, and whether it was the military-driven revolution of Vietnam, the social revolution of the western world, Alex Gross gives readers his own personal views of life in an era where one day was radically different than the next. "The Untold 60s" is well worth the read for those looking to get a better understanding of the decade.
By Graham Keen, Editor, IT, 1968-70 (UK):
I knew Alex in the Sixties. He would come bustling in to the office of International Times in London, where I worked on the layouts, from god-nose where, spilling manuscripts, good humour and intelligence in equal parts and vitalising the atmosphere with the excitement of his enthusiasms. Reading his wonderful account The Untold Sixties, has revealed the other pieces of his kaleidoscopic life and good times that I never knew about.
Alex has a wide ranging cultural embrace, from New York to Italy, to London, to Paris, to Berlin and back again, and the book is an important counter-cultural insight into those turbulent and heady times when those cities throbbed with the energy and invention of the disaffected. Even if you weren't there, he makes you feel you should have been.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Enter the time warp
By A. M. Wilson (UK):
A major part of getting the story for a journalist is being in the right place at the right time.
As a chronicler of the Sixties counter-culture, the travels of Alex Gross between London, New York and Berlin throughout that decade provided him with a closer view than most of what was 'going down'.
For much of the 1960s he was covering events for underground newspapers such as London's International Times and New York's East Village Other, but then had the good sense to get down what he hadn't already recorded in the early 1970s.
As a result, reading The Untold Sixties really is like entering a time warp. More than simply capturing the events and characters of the time, Gross brings long-forgotten attitudes, outlooks and preoccupations back to life, investing them with new significance. The sections on Berlin in particular, are invaluable in providing an insight into just what was troubling the young in that mixed-up city at the time.
As Alan W. Moore writes in his introduction, this book really is "like buried treasure, the historian's dream".
It's also highly readable and enjoyably opinionated.
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