Play Power: Exploring the International Underground

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9780394440538: Play Power: Exploring the International Underground

Richard Neville was a main figure of the 60s youth scene. Making a name for himself by founding the subversive review OZ in Australia, for which he faced an obscenity trial, he went on to issue his counterculture publication from the UK while roaming the world to report on what the "Underground" was up to. PLAY POWER is an exhaustive (300 pages) compilation of anecdotes about the Underground scene, mainly 1967 to early 1970, with a few references back to the American civil rights movement or Beatnik predecessors. The book has little structure, being simply a series of self-contained writings charting some events that caught Neville's interest. The reader is soon absorbed in these years of wild happenings. Neville describes topics from making love behind the Paris barricades in May 1968 to roaming the Istanbul-Kathmandu trail to how to buy dope or even grow your own. There are sad vignettes and heartwarming bits such as an old man's reminisces about joining the Underground after a long life as a straight. In the last part of the book he draws a useful distinction between the Underground and the New Left, two scenes which tend to be conflated in stereotypical depictions of the 1960s today. Neville writes about these massive social changes with obvious delight, feeling that these self-empowered young people are a wave of the future. That the Underground pretty much evaporated after the book was published makes this optimism rather poignant. Still, one mostly can't help share his enthusiasm for the promise of this era. For anyone interested in the radicalism of the late 1960s, Neville's book is a must-read. Sad that it fell out of print--though it is so much of its time that a new edition would be hard to come up with--but seek it out on the used market with zeal.

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Neville, Richard
Published by Random House (1970)
ISBN 10: 0394440536 ISBN 13: 9780394440538
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Richard Neville
Published by Random House (1970)
ISBN 10: 0394440536 ISBN 13: 9780394440538
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Book Description Random House, 1970. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0394440536

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