It Wasn't Pretty, Folks, but Didn't We Have Fun?: Esquire in the Sixties

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9780393037920: It Wasn't Pretty, Folks, but Didn't We Have Fun?: Esquire in the Sixties
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The sixties in America was a wild, giddy ride, an amazing Technicolor adventure, and no magazine caught the spirit of its apocalyptic fun as definitively as Esquire. Its brilliant, buccaneering editor Harold Hayes transformed the once-somnolent men's fashion magazine into a literary and cultural proving ground, where pure iconoclasm and blazing talent reigned. Art director George Lois put Sonny Liston on the cover as Santa Claus and Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian. Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Garry Wills, Michael Herr, and others virtually invented a "New Journalism" equal to the task of deconstructing celebrity, celebrating pop culture, comprehending wars and demonstrations and riots and assassinations. Diane Arbus captured photographic images that reflected a disturbing, hidden America, and fiction writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Raymond Carver did much the same in words.
Journalist and historian Carol Polsgrove has written the definitive history of this decade-long high-water mark in American magazine journalism.

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From the Back Cover:

"It Wasn't Pretty, Folks,. . . is an engrossing account of Esquire and its writers catching the revolutionary spirit of America during the 1960s; and it shows how the violence and false virtue of that period blended ideally with the vision of Esquire's leading editor, Harold Hayes, an ex-Marine and the wayward son of a Southern minister who energized the magazine with the wrath of God and Camp Lejeune and sometimes the luncheon wisdom of a dry martini--creating a marvelously unpredictable editorial product that was in perfect balance with that tilted time in American history."--Gay Talese

"It is a splendid book and it reminded me that, indeed we all did have fun."--Robert Benton

"History is not dead. Journalists like Carol Polsgrove knock us over the head with that fact when they bring history into living color with this wonderful book from behind the scenes at Esquire in the sixties. Polsgrove's book is another addition to chronicle the part of the sixties when truth and guts and quality and innovation really did matter to journalists, and today's excuse for journalism pales. Let's air out all the laundry and more of it please." --Molly Ivins

About the Author:

Carol Polsgrove is an associate professor of journalism at Indiana University.

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