rocketjk's magazine reading

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rocketjk's magazine reading

kesäkuu 28, 2019, 12:28 pm

Hi! I just discovered this group. Even though it seems to be mostly dormant, now, I've decided to create myself a thread here to compile my own magazine reading just to amuse myself and hopefully one or two others.

I used to have a bad habit of buying old magazines, such that I have stacks of them at the bottom of my home office closet. For quite a few years, now, I have made a practice of making myself read at least one magazine article between each book I read so that I could then get rid of them. For a long time, I was going through relatively "recent" magazines, old Harpers and Atlantics from the 1980s and 90s. I didn't bother listing those here on LT. There would be the occasional New Yorker Fiction Annuals, which I would list here. When I finished those, I recycled them.

Now, however, I've gone through all of those and I am on to older periodicals, magazines from the 1960s, mostly and even earlier. Those I have been listing on my 50-Book Challenge reading lists, because both the magazines as artifacts and the subject matter of the articles they contain are of great historical interest (at least to me!)

I currently have two such magazines in my rotation. One is the Esquire Magazine - 40th Anniversary Celebration, published in 1972. This is quite a thick publication with lots of fascinating articles, essays and short stories. I've been quite a while reading through it and will be a bit longer until I'm done. The other is the August 1949 edition of something called Magazine Digest. This is a Readers Digest sort of compilation, except that seems that some nameless writers would take two or three articles from different magazines on similar topics and condense them down into a single short essay on the subject. It's interesting to see what sort of issues were considered important in 1949.

I've been keeping track of my reading here on LT since 2008. I've decided to go back and find the entries on the magazine reading I've considered worth noting and gradually compile them all together here, just for fun.

Cheers, all!

kesäkuu 28, 2019, 12:31 pm

Here's my first magazine entry, originally posted in September, 2008.

California Historical Society Quarterly - June 1955

I was born in July 1955 and I like to find periodicals published during or close to that month and year. Since the CHSQ is a quarterly, June is as close to July as one can get. Having them on the shelf is nice, but once in awhile I like to actually read them! Anyway, this edition had some interesting articles. I read a couple about some relatively obscure figures of the California Gold Rush era, a piece about the far western theater of the American Civil War and one about the California National Guard's role in the U.S.-Mexico border clashes of 1914-1916. Nothing earthshaking, but some fun information about relatively unknown (to me) corners of California history.

kesäkuu 29, 2019, 3:06 am

It was several months before I posted my second magazine entry, also from my birth month publication shelf, in May, 2009.

Astounding Science Fiction - July 1955 edited by John W. Campbell

A fun Sci-Fi periodical featuring stories and novellas, with a few written by very well known authors of the period and genre, including Algis Budrys, Frank Herbert, Robert Sheckley and Poul Anderson. Also somewhat humorously, among the book reviews is a review of J.R.R. Tolkien's follow-up to The Hobbit. Something called The Fellowship of the Ring: "It's pure fantasy and great fun, if expensive. Charming is probably the word for it. . . . It's not science fiction, in spite of what eminent writers say about it on the jacket: so don't be fooled, but don't pass up something you may like."

Anyway, it's fun to read science fiction from the 1950s to see how they imagined the future.

kesäkuu 29, 2019, 11:10 am

And then it was almost two years, February 2011, later that I finally posted a third magazine, as I was mostly still reading those 1980s Atlantics and Harpers.

Zoetrope: All-Story Summer 2003 - Vol. 7, No. 2

Francis Ford Coppolla used to (or maybe still does, for all I know) publish this very nice short story quarterly magazine. My copy was in a stack of old magazines in my office I'm trying to slowly go through. At any rate, the theme of this edition was "Foreign Affairs" and the magazine contains some very good stories set in many different locales and cultures and written by authors representing them. In fact, the only dreary story in the bunch was the American story, written by Dave Eggers.

kesäkuu 30, 2019, 12:10 pm

Now we're all the way to July 2013 and the next magazine on the stack was . . .

The New Yorker 1994 Fiction Issue

(The link to the original cover photo I used is broken and I can't find another online that's not too large.)

I have a stack of oldish magazines in my office, and in order to finally (if gradually) get rid of them, I make myself read articles from the magazine at the top of the stack between each book I read. Then I recycle the magazine. I usually don't include them as part of this challenge, but the magazine I just finished, the 1994 New Yorker fiction issue, was more or less a short story anthology, and I read just about everything in it, rather than select articles as usual. So it goes on this list. There was what I found to be a rather pointless and obvious story by Nicholson Baker, then excellent stories by Judy Troy, Alice Munro, Elmore Leonard (featuring Raylon Givens!),William Trevor and David Foster Wallace. There was a hilarious walk through that month's NY Times Top Ten list by Anthony Lewis that literally had me laughing out loud in several spots, and a terrific profile of James Thurber by Adam Gopnik. I started but then gave up on John Updike's very, very, very long review of Jeffrey Meyers' biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald (takeaway: Updike had no use for Fitzgerald's work, other than Gatsby). This was a fun publication to wander through.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 30, 2019, 3:31 pm

In January 2014, I finished another New Yorker fiction issue . . .

The New Yorker 1999 Summer Fiction Issue: 20 Writers for the 21st Century

(Once again, photo link is broken with no appropriate replacement to be found online or on LT.)

As this was the final summer fiction edition of the 20th century for the magazine, the theme of the issue was "20 Writers for the 21st Century." The editors found 20 young writers they thought were going to make a splash in the New Millennium. They were pretty much on target, too, as the issue includes stories from Sherman Alexie, Ethan Canin, Michael Chabon, Junot Diaz, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Allegra Goodman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rich Moody, William T. Vollmann and David Foster Wallace, among others. The stories were generally very good, with particularly effective tales from Alexie, Lahiri and Eugenides.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 30, 2019, 3:31 pm

Then in November, 2014, I finished a third New Yorker fiction edition . . .

The New Yorker Magazine Fiction Issue, December 2006

I finished up another off my stack of old magazines. These New Yorker annual fiction issues are always fun. This one, in fact, didn't have that many stories, although what was there was quite good. There were long stories by Don DeLillo, Richard Russo and, particularly enjoyable, Alice Munro. Also, I started but abandoned an essay on Haruki Murakami, but very much enjoyed Susannah Clapp's profile of Bruce Chatwin. Finally, I devoured John Updike's essay on/review of The New Fowler's Modern English. Two gems from Updike from that last piece:

"The tools of logic fall afoul of so compounded and shifty an organism as English . . . . "


"The disciplinarians of language offer little encouragement to the attempt, which needs constant renewal, to find written equivalents for actual experience, in its unparsable, impressionistic complexity."

From these quotes you might think that Updike disapproved of the book he was reviewing, but in fact he seemed to love both the original edition of Fowler's and the later rewrite that he was actually reviewing. In fact, I consider myself a grammar "purist," but, still, one does take the point.

heinäkuu 1, 2019, 7:02 pm

A year later, in November 2015, I finished this literary magazine . . .

Short Story International: Volume 3, Number 15 edited by Sylvia Tankel

I don't know how long this monthly periodical of short stories from around the world was published. I have a bunch of them in my used bookstore, though. At any rate, this edition is from August, 1979. I found an article online from April 1979 that says the periodical was three years old at that point, but how long it lasted, I can't tell. Anyway, this edition was a lot of fun. It included stories by Leslie Norris, Ita Daly, Alan Sillitoe, Robert Granat and Tom Wolfe among its 16 stories. There were authors unknown to me from Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Spain and Thailand.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2019, 5:43 pm

It wasn't until June of 2017 that I finished another magazine that I considered worthy of my LT lists . . .

Manhunt Detective Story Monthly, January, 1953 edited by John McCloud

Read as a "between book" (see first post). This was the first issue of a pulp monthly. I don't know how long this publication lasted, but the first one was a lot of fun. It contains the first third of the Mickey Spillane novella, "Everybody's Watching Me," published in serial form in future editions. Other authors featured include Richard S. Prather, William Irish (pseudonym for Cornell Woolrich) and Evan Hunter (a.k.a. Ed McBain). I did some research and found that the Spillane novella was later published in its entirety in the collection Pulp Masters, so I ordered that one online. Didn't want to be left hanging! Some of the stories were better than others, but fun all in all.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2019, 5:52 pm

A couple of months later, I finished this New Yorker anniversary issue . . .

The 75th Anniversary New Yorker Magazine - February 21 & 28, 2000

This thick and special edition of The New Yorker Magazine offers an interesting snapshot of American culture at the dawn of the 21st century, although not all the works deal with current affairs. Pieces include some fabulous profiles: Joan Didion on Martha Stewart, John Lahr on Mike Nichols and Janet Malcolm on Anton Chekhov. There are fine personal essays by Wendy Wasserstein and Roger Angell, and Jon Lee Anderson investigating the state of life in Cuba and the then-current state of Castro's regime. The only disappointments were the short stories, including an unfunny offering from Woody Allen and a drab affair by Alice Munro. (I am usually a fan of both).

heinäkuu 2, 2019, 5:57 pm

My third listed magazine of 2017 was this New Yorker fiction issue . . .

The New Yorker Magazine Fiction Issue - December 28, 1998 & January 4, 1999

Another great old New Yorker Magazine from my stack, meaty enough to count for this list. This edition includes short stories by Ken Kesey, Richard Ford, Jhumpa Lahiri and George Saunders. There is also a fun letter exchange between Philip Roth and Mary McCarthy about Roth's book, The Counterlife, a fascinating profile of Billy the Kid by Fintan O'Toole and a pair of very entertaining movie reviews by Anthony Lane (an insightful review of "The Thin Red Line" and a hilarious review of "The Prince of Egypt").

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 2, 2019, 6:04 pm

In 2018 I finally finished my stack of relatively recent magazines and dug into the older editions, each of which I began posting on my LT lists as I completed them. Here is the first . . .

Book 21: True - The Man's Magazine: August, 1958 edited by Douglas S. Kennedy

The first of the older magazines I've begun reading is this: True - The Man's Magazine August, 1958 edition. The content is as you'd imagine: adventure stories, pieces on "manly" pursuits like hunting and hand-to-hand combat, and the like (I skipped one particularly egregious piece called "All About Men" as well as the hand-to-hand combat piece), but with some very interesting articles on history. The articles I read included an informative short biography of Nikola Tesla called "The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century" by George Scullin; a profile of baseball player Enos Slaughter, "The Last of the Old Pros," by Jimmy Breslin; and the supposedly true tale of an outrageous frontier grifter named "Soapy" Smith, "Showdown for a Con Man" by J.P. Cahn

The two most interesting were:

"The Wild Irish War" by Charles McCarry, the story of an historical incident I knew nothing of, the ill-conceived invasion of Canada by an army of Irish soldiers, recent veterans of the Union Army in the American Civil War. Their goal was to put pressure on England to let loose their hold on Ireland.


"We Could Have Been the First into Space" by Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. This was a news story about a now all but forgotten project whereby a rocket was lofted into the upper atmosphere via a giant balloon and then launched into space. The launch took place some months after the Soviets had scored a major propaganda victory with the launch of Sputnik. The authors' claim was that the balloon/rocket project could have been managed before Sputnik, making the U.S. first into space, had it not been for administrative resistance and foot-dragging within the Air Force, under whose auspices the project took place. Perhaps the most interesting point to me about the piece is that it was written long before NASA was initiated but inadvertently shows us the need for such an organization. For when space exploration was still within the administration of the Air Force, its proponents had to fight the heavy headwinds of Air Force brass who thought space exploration to be a waste of time (they were busy trying to maintain the supremacy of U.S. air power, after all) and tried to starve such projects of funding and talent.

Part of the fun of these old publications is running online searches of the authors' names to see who they were. McCarry, author of the piece on the Irish invasion of Canada, was, according to wikipedia, "an American writer, primarily of spy fiction and former undercover operative for the Central Intelligence Agency who The Wall Street Journal, in 2013, described as being the dean of American spy writers." J.P. Cahn was, among other things, a distinguished investigative journalist for the S.F. Chronicle. George Scullin wrote for the movies and authored the treatment from which Leon Uris wrote the screenplay for "Gunfight at OK Corral."

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 16, 2019, 2:04 pm

Here's the next magazine completed in 2017 . . .

The Reporter - February 2, 1954 edited by Max Ascoli

This is the second periodical from the stack of old magazines in my closet that I am going to be reading through over the next few years. The Reporter labeled itself "A Fortnightly of Facts and Ideas." According to the Wikipedia entry linked to in this post, "The Reporter had a huge influence in its day, both among policy makers and the educated public. One author, writing in Commentary in 1960, praised The Reporter as 'represent{ing} the concerns of intelligent American liberalism.' In a 1962 survey of reporters asking what magazines they cited in their work, The Reporter came in fourth place after Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Newsweek, with no other publication coming close."

I love going back in time through these old periodicals and being reminded of the issues and attitudes of the days in which they were published. For example, which modern American president made this statement during his State of the Union Address?

"The Administration is profoundly aware of two great needs born of our living in a complex industrial economy. First: The individual citizen must have safeguards against personal disaster inflicted by forces beyond his control. Second: The welfare of the people demands effective and economical performance by the government of certain indispensable social services . . . There is urgent need for greater effectiveness in our programs, both public and private, offering safeguards against the privations that too often come with unemployment, old age illness, and accident.

If you guessed Dwight D. Eisenhower, you are a winner.

This edition of The Reporter also includes:

** a fascinating critique of America's post-war foreign aide programs by Harlan Cleveland ("Country agents from Kentucky and Nebraska found that there was no point in talking about growing more food when their listeners were interested only in getting a fairer share of what they were already growing.")

** an insightful article about the downfall, show trial and execution of powerful Soviet general Lavrenti Beria.

** Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s review of Louis Morton's then new World War 2 history, The Fall of the Philippines.

** A discussion, in Edward L. Katzenbach, Jr.'s article, "The Diplomatic Cost of Military Penny Pinching," of whether small, mobile atomic weapons could be made to substitute for more costly large-scale armies. ("The use of 'volunteers' to fight a foreign war is only one of the dodges the Communists have available to them. What are we to do if a 'spontaneous peoples' revolution' starts throughout Southeast Asia? This is the sort of question to which in the past no clean-cut answers could be given. If we were vague about it, we were also flexible. But if atomic cannon are substituted for men in this area, a decision on the ground will be harder, not easier, to reach." -- And this is being written in 1954, mind you.)

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 3, 2019, 2:05 pm

One more "Reporter" in 2017 . . .

The Reporter - A Fortnightly of Facts and Ideas: March 31, 1953 edited by Max Ascoli

Though not quite as interesting as the issue of The Reporter I read earlier this year, this was still an enjoyable and informative edition to read. The issue's subtitle was "What About This Psychological Warfare?" It was 1953, and America was finally coming to terms, it seems from this reading, with the fact that the smaller countries of Eastern Europe would remain firmly within a Soviet Union sphere of influence with totalitarian puppet governments. At the time of this publication, Eisenhower been inaugurated but two months previously. Harry Truman's stated policy had been "containment" of the Soviet sphere rather than direct confrontation in an effort to free those Soviet bloc countries. Eisenhower's policy seemed little different, with a strong emphasis on "Psychological Warfare." In other words: propaganda. To what degree would the Voice of America and other Western propaganda outlets be effective in weakening Soviet control and encouraging the people of the beleaguered countries to rise up against the Russians? In hindsight, these seem obviously futile questions, but at the time, evidently, they were still being debated within the U.S. Three years later, Hungary would, in fact, rise up, but the U.S. would choose not to send help, and the uprising was brutally supressed.

At any rate, several pieces in this edition of the Reporter deal with the efficacy of this approach, generally with a very generous slice of skepticism. (Roy A. Gallant's piece is called "More Psycho than Logical," although Thomas W. Wilson, Jr. does contribute "Red Propaganda Can be Beaten.") At the same time, the McCarthy hearings were going on, and Marya Mannes supplies a acerbic critique of those proceedings as they appeared on television, particularly as they had to do with McCarthy's claims of Red subversion within the Voice of America.

There is also a scathing critique of the Eisenhower Administration's trade protection policies and a fascinating article about the ways in which the Mexican oligarchy was keeping the country from progress and stealing not just money but opportunity from the country's citizens.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 3, 2019, 8:34 pm

And another Reporter, this one finished in May, 2018

The Reporter - A Fortnightly of Facts and Ideas: March 17, 1953 edited by Max Ascoli

This issue has "Reports on the Middle East" as its main theme, with three full-length articles on that subject. "The Moslem Brotherhood - Terrorists or Just Zealots?" is the most fascinating, and at the time was considered dangerous enough to write that the author used a pseudonym in the magazine. The answer to the title's question was, basically, both, depending on which faction had control at the time. But it was clear that the organization was one of power and influence within Egypt. Additionally, there is "Iraq: Dilemma for the West" by Ray Alan and "The Sudan Faces Independence" by Odin and Olivia Meeker.

Other pieces in the magazine include a profile of Eugene Millikin, a highly influential conservative senator from Colorado. Also, appearing in publication for the first time, is the Ray Bradbury short story, "Sun and Shadow," later anthologized in the collection The Golden Apples of the Sun.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 10, 2019, 9:13 am

I finished the next magazine worth posting in July 2018 . . .

The Coast Magazine: April 1938 edited by Christopher Rand

Read as a "between book" (see first post). This is another periodical off my stack of old magazines. The Coast was a California-based monthly about which I can't find a thing via Google. This edition is Vol 1, No. 5, so evidently 1938 was the first year of publication. How many years there were after that I can't say.

At any rate, I was immediately won over by the wonderful cover, which, as this is the April edition, is a salute to the beginning of baseball season with a drawing by Parker Edwards with whimsical representations of every Pacific Coast League team. (Before the days of expansion, the PCL was pretty close to being a third major league.)

The magazine includes, among other items, some lively, humorous artwork, a profile of Paul Smith, who at the time was the new wunderkind editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, and a series of short short stories, most of which I enjoyed but none of which featured authors whose names I knew. There is one short piece on Hollywood culture by William Saroyan! All in all, this was fun to read.

And that catches me up for now. Right after completing this magazine, I began going through the Esquire Magazine edition mentioned in the first post, here, and I'm still working on it.

marraskuu 28, 2019, 3:57 pm

This morning I finished Esquire Magazine - 40th Anniversary Celebration - October, 1973 edited by Don Erickson

Read as a "between book" (see first post). In October, 1973, Esquire Magazine published sort of a "greatest hits" edition of their first 40 years of existence. It is a very thick publication with somewhere around 60 articles/essays/short stories grouped in various categories. The authors included are many of the biggest and brightest lights of literature, commentary and journalism over those four decades. Featured is the Hemingway/Fitzgerald dust-up that played out in the magazine's pages, plus a long essay by Arnold Gingrich, who was friend and editor to both. Steinbeck and Styron, Trotsky and Sinclair Lewis, Aldous Huxly and Dorothy Parker are all represented. Highlights for me included journalist Richard Rovere's acute analysis of Joseph McCarthy, James Baldwin's savage yet thrillingly written 1960 essay on race relations, "Fifth Avenue, Uptown,"*
Tom Wicker's "Kennedy Without Tears" and Truman Capote's famous story, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" which, somewhat unbelievably, I read here for the first time. Just a super collection, all in all.

* Here's a link to Esquire's online version of this amazing, disturbing essay:

tammikuu 18, 2020, 5:39 pm

I finished the December 2, 1967 issue of The New Yorker

The issue includes two short stories:
"Passion" by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
"Weekend Confrontation With the Soc. Rels." by Barbara Vroom

plus an essay about Norwegian author Knut Hamson by John Updike and assorted essays/articles about the culture and politics of the day.

maaliskuu 17, 2020, 4:58 pm

I finished this interesting timepiece: The Mentor, November, 1924 edited by W.D. Moffat

Read as a "between book" (see first post). In the closet of my home office, I have a large stack of old magazines that I have picked up here and there along the way. I generally have one going as a "between book." The Mentor was the brainchild of its editor, William D. Moffat, who had worked for Scribner's for 20 years and then, in 1905, gone on to start his own publishing house, Moffat, Yard and Company with fellow Princeton alum Robert S. Yard. In 1912, Moffat founded the Mentor Association with an attendant magazine.

A google search reveals, "The Mentor Association is rather like Moffat’s attempt at a think tank. He gathers men who were specialists in their area and, with himself as editor, they proceed to share their information in a publication so that persons might “learn one thing every day.” This publication was The Mentor."

The quote is from this much more in-depth article about the publication:

The November 1924 edition of The Mentor had the West Indies as its theme. There are a series of very short (from one to three pages) articles about the various West Indies islands, most of which were still colonial possessions at the time. Collectively, they offer an interesting glimpse of those islands and their histories as seen through the lens of white academic writers. The history is interesting, but most notably the racism is instructive in a "that's what I was expecting but reminders never hurt" sort of way. However, some of the photography, presented in sharp sepia-tone splendor, is outstanding. Most of the photography, and some of the text, is by a fellow named Sherril Schell, who, it turns out, was quite a famous photographer. Here is a link with some of his work:

Live and learn, eh?

huhtikuu 18, 2020, 12:43 pm

Magazine Digest - August 1949 edited by Murray Simmons

Magazine Digest seems have been somewhat more intellectually minded competitor with Reader's Digest. At any rate, the cover of my August 1949 edition of Magazine Digest tells us that they were in their “20th Year of Publication” at that point. As the title suggests, this small magazine (7 ¼ “ x 5 ¼”) consisted of short articles drawn from other periodicals of the day. The editors would find two or three articles on the same or similar topics from different publications and meld them together. So, for example, the article “U.S. Labor’s Secret Agents Behind the Iron Curtain” provides a list of “References” including World Affairs, International Free Trade Union News, New York Daily Mirror, Monthly Labor Review, American Federationist and Labor Leader. That’s probably the longest such list in the magazine. Two or three sources is more the norm. This fairly interesting piece describes American organized labor’s attempts to put representatives in both Eastern and Western Europe to try to promote the cause of “free trade unionism” in order to oppose Communism. Remember, we’re talking now about 1948 and 1949, with the rubble and dust still settling and the Cold War just getting going.

Some of the articles are more interesting than others. “Your Personal Prejudices Trick You” is a short piece about our vulnerability to various advertising strategies that will surprise very few current readers. Same story with “The Cigarette Makers Are After the Children.” “Morons Can Be Millionaires,” however, despite its regrettable word choice, turns out to be an article about how people with mental challenges are able to thrive in society to a much higher degree than was generally supposed. “What Happened to the Tucker Car?” provides an interesting story of Preston Tucker’s hucksterism and American gullibility. But “Your Money is Out of Date” is a call to do away with nickels and dimes as obsolete coins.

While this is not the most fascinating of the old magazines I’ve been reading through lately, it has its moments and makes for an interesting enough time piece.

huhtikuu 26, 2020, 12:09 pm

Scribner's Magazine - March, 1936

Read as a "between book" (see first post). Here's another one completed from my huge stack of old magazines. This is a very interesting edition of what I'm sure was a consistently interesting publication. Just about all of the articles are written by authors who have lengthy wikipedia entries, people who were famous in their day as journalists, scientists and politicians. "Behind the Scenes in 1916" is a fascinating look into the "smoke filled rooms" that brought about the Republican nomination of New Yorker Charles Evans Hughes, a compromise choice nobody really wanted, who went on to lose the election to Woodrow Wilson. The piece was written by Nicholas Murray Butler, who was a part of the negotiations. Butler wanted Elihu Root for the nomination, and in 1936 still thought Root could have beat Wilson. "The New National Domain" by Rexford G. Tugwell is a piece pleading support for the new U.S. Government policy of land conservation and management. It was at this point that the government had decided to stop making all unclaimed land available for homesteading and instead decided to maintain open spaces as communal federally maintained grazing land. Short stories by Mary M. Colum and Vardis Fisher are quite good, while a third story, by Nancy Hale was not as enjoyable for me. All in all, an extremely interesting trip back to 1936.

heinäkuu 10, 2020, 11:43 am

Argosy Magazine - April 1958 edited by Henry Steeger

Read as a "between book" (see first post). I finished another off the stack of old magazines that I've been going through gradually for several years now. Argosy billed itself as "The largest selling fiction-fact magazine for men." "Men's Magazine" and all that that moniker brings up aside, there were a lot of very good entries in this edition. There were four short stories which ranged from pretty good to very good, including an "adventure" story set in the days of early Christianity by G. C. Edmondson. Other story authors include William Brandon, and Robert Fontaine, with a very interesting Western by Homer Croy.

The non-fiction is highlighted by a piece by famed sportswriter Red Smith about the real reasons for the then recent move of the Dodgers and Giants from New York to California. The piece's title will give you an idea of Smith's opinion on the matter: "The Big Sellout." Most fascinating of all was a piece called "Final By-line: The Murder of George Polk" about the killing of an American journalist in Cold War-era Greece, murdered while on his way (or so he thought) to an interview with a Greek Communist guerilla leader in the hills. This story was written by Martin Ebon.

There are several stories about fishing and hunting, including a photo essay on piranas by Michael Crichton.

All in all, this was a fun addition to my vintage magazine reading. Unfortunately, as often happens, the magazine basically fell apart while I was reading it. At any rate, the goal of this project is to read these volumes so that they can be thereafter recycled.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2020, 1:45 pm

Sport Magazine - November 1971 edited by Al Silverman

The November 1971 edition of Sport Magazine marked the publication's 25th anniversary. There were some interesting and fun articles, including an entertaining essay, "My Life in the Great Soo League, by Eugene McCarthy (yes, the politician) about playing baseball in a local town league when he was a teenager. Sports-wise, I am primarily a baseball fan these days, so I was most interested in the feature about Catfish Hunter as well as Bill Mazeroski's piece, "My 16 Years With Roberto Clemente." This article is very insightful, with lots of first-hand observations about Clemente the player and the person. But a modern reader will be saddened by Mazeroski's closing observation that he believes Clemente still has several years of baseball greatness left in him. Baseball fans will know that Clemente died in a plane crash just a year later while bringing food to earthquake-hammered Managua, Nicaragua. Finally, Roger Kahn's piece on Preacher Roe, the last pitcher to throw a legal spitball in Major League Baseball, is terrific.

Instructive is the feature article on Tom Gatewood, "Notre Dame's New Style All-American." What made Gatewood a "new style" football player at Notre Dame in 1971 was the fact that he was black.

In the "Top Performers of the Past 25 Years" section, I enjoyed the short profiles of Doak Walker (College Football) and Lew Alcinder (College Basketball). Alcindor was of course soon to change his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Also, the piece on Willie Shoemaker (Horse Racing) was interesting. Unfortunately, women athletes, you'll not be surprised to learn given the vintage of the magazine, are relegated to a photo essay.

joulukuu 9, 2020, 12:27 pm

Sport Magazine - August 1973 edited by Dick Schaap

This was another fun trip in the Wayback Machine for me, as I had just turned 18 when this edition of Sport Magazine was published and the stories are mostly about athletes I remember pretty well. The cover story is about Yankee centerfielder Bobby Murcer, one of my favorite ballplayers from that era. The question was whether he was, or was eventually going to, measure up to the two famous Yankee centerfielders that had preceded him, Joe Dimaggio and Micky Mantle, and also about the relationship between the three of them (all, obviously, were still alive) as Yankee icons. The knowledge that the relationship between Dimaggio and Mantle had always been frosty was just seeping out from under the blanket of the efficient Yankees PR department and this article puts that in some context. Well, at any rate, Murcer was a very good ballplayer and had a very good career, although not with the Yankees throughout, but he was no Mantle/Dimaggio.

But this being an August edition of the periodical, a lot of the articles are about football. One interesting piece is about Joe Thomas, the man who, hired as the new general manager of the Baltimore Colts, proceeded to dismantle what had been a near-legendary team, starting with the trading of all-time great Johnny Unitas. My sports fandom is pretty much limited to just baseball now, for a variety of reasons (with the occasional soccer game thrown in), but it was fun to read these pieces about football written back in the time I still followed the sport and its players closely.

Finally, the edition concludes with a highly entertaining story about tournament pool by a writer named James Morgan titled "No More Yellow Cabs for Boston Shorty."

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 2021, 12:14 pm

Free France Magazine - June 15, 1945

Another from my stack of old magazines, this fascinating publication is the June 1945 edition of an English-language periodical that was published in New York City during the years of World War Two by "the French Press and Information Service (an agency of the Provisional Government of the French Republic)." In other words, the American propaganda office of the Free French who, by the time this edition came out, were in control in France under the leadership of De Gaulle. The magazine is a compendium of official government releases and excerpts from newspaper and magazine reports. This edition came out post V-E Day, and there is a great photograph of the V-E Day celebration on the Champs Elysee. But the war was still going on in Asia, and part of this edition consists of reports on the ways in which French forces were in action against the Japanese, as well as an account of the battles fought by French land and naval forces to get the last German divisions out of France, in a piece titled, "The Victory at Royan."

The magazine also includes reports on French programs for the administration of their African and Asian colonies and planned efforts towards (as they tell it) preparing those colonies for independence. Dakar and Madagascar get the most detailed treatment.

There is a fascinating section of reports about "The Syrian Affair," which I had to look up but which was a very big deal at the time. Violence erupted in Syrian over French efforts to reestablish control over the country, which had been a French Mandate between the wars. It got to the point that the English Army was sent in to get between the two sides, causing a rift between De Gaulle and Churchill. The French explanations of the ways in which their actions had been misunderstood, of their good and ultimately benign intentions toward the Syrians, and their confusion over why they shouldn't have the same rights over their former Mandate as the English were enjoying in their own makes for interesting "this is what they were saying at the time" reading for the historically minded.

Finally, there is an unexpectedly interesting section entitled "France and the San Francisco Conference." This is a series of short reports about the French participation in the series of conferences aimed at creating a new worldwide organization to replace the League of Nations, but this time with American participation. This aborning organization had not yet been named the United Nations. Part of this section has to do with France's efforts (this is actually a theme that runs throughout the magazine) to reassert itself as one of the world's major powers. The most interesting to me was the initial article in this section: Trade Unions and the Conference. It seems that France had backed the claims of what was then called the World Trade Union Conference to take official part in these organizational deliberations. According to the article, every other major power said no. I'm guessing that the French position had mostly to do with De Gaulle's desire to signal his support to French labor unions, and thereby receive their support for his government in return. One can hardly imagine the major capitalist countries like the U.S. and England going along with this idea. I assume Russia and China would have thought odious giving voice/power to an independent, international Labor group, as well, and anyway officially redundant, being, anyway, utopian workers' states, as they were. It would be nice to think of a world where the major national powers would actually say, "Well, dang, we can't set up a world peace organization without giving the workers their say." Maybe in some alternate universe!

The magazine is full of interesting black and white photos.

tammikuu 12, 2021, 12:14 pm

Western Adventures Magazine - October, 1943

This was a fun collection of western stories, ranging all the way in length from "novels" (really novellas), longish short stories and a couple of very short tales. Of the authors represented, I'd heard of only two of them from my used bookstore-owning days (I had a pretty large Westerns section): Norman A. Fox and Eli Colter. Most of the stories were engaging enough. There is a distinct pattern to them. Someone, usually a stranger in these here parts, has been wrongly accused of a crime and has to figure out a way to clear himself. Often in doing so, our hero gets the girl into the bargain. One of the most entertaining of the entries, the "novel" by Norman A. Fox called "Land Beyond the Law," is described thusly in its teaser on the table of contents: "Matt Larkey discovered too late that his bargain with the law had sent him into Hell's Vest Pocket with his gun fangs pulled."

The magazine was published by Street & Smith Publications. When I first started my reading here, I did a little fishing online and found a pulp crime and westerns blog that described Western Adventures as Street & Smith's third-string periodical. That may explain the relative sameness to the stories. Regardless, as I mentioned, these stories were entertaining if loved just for themselves by readers who like their lead flying and their bad guys tumbling grimly to their just desserts.

As always with old magazines, the advertisements provide plenty of interest, too. For example, we learn "How a Free Lesson started Bill on the way to a Good Radio Job." Also, you may be amused to learn, we have a full-page ad selling Listerine as a dandruff treatment. Frequent reference to the war is made in these ads. Another full-page spot for International Correspondence Schools features a pen & ink drawing of a GI with rifle pointed as we are advised to "Increase Your 'Fire Power' on the Production Front and increase your chances for prosperity in tomorrow's victory world by enrolling in a low-cost, short-term War Course." The half-page ad for Gillette Razor Blades toward the back of the publication makes a promise that I don't believe it could keep, to put it mildly.

maaliskuu 20, 2021, 2:45 pm

Harper's Magazine - June 1959 edited by John Fischer

Read as a "between book" (see first post). This is another from the stack of old magazines sitting in my office closet that I've been gradually reading through. I find these old periodicals to be fascinating time pieces, looks at the society and its concerns that would be otherwise hard to find so many years later. The June 1959 Harper's begins with an hilarious take down of the novel, The Ugly American.

The edition also includes one of Leo Rosten's fun and funny H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N stories (The title character was an adult European Jewish emigre to the U.S. and the setting was always the night time English/citizenship adult school class that Kaplan shared with other recent immigrants from all over the world. These stories were quite famous in their day. My parents loved them. Rosten was, perhaps, best known for his book The Joys of Yiddish.)

There is a somewhat horrifying piece called "Germs and Gas: The Weapons Nobody Dares Talk About," by Brigadier General J. H. Rothschild, in which the good general makes the case for biological and chemical weaponry and criticizes the U.S. government for going along with the international ban on them.

"Reading, Writing, and Television" by David C. Stewart is not, as one would first imagine, another complaint about the ways that television is dumbing down the country, but instead an enlightening early look at the ways that public television was being used creatively to help fight illiteracy.

The two most interesting pieces, for me at least, are by George Steiner and Nat Hentoff. Steiner's piece, "Notes from Eastern Europe," really is a fascinating picture of a moment in time. Although of course the Russians were sitting everywhere in the region, one of the major concerns of the people in countries like Czechoslovakia was to wonder what American and Western European leaders thought they were playing at by rearming Germany. Hadn't we learned anything? Reading Steiner's piece is a useful reminder to the typical ignorant modern reader (i.e., me) that these were individual countries and not simply a bunch of chunks frozen together into a single "Eastern Bloc." For example:

"Czechoslovakia and Poland are more cut off from each other than from the West. The Czechs are simply afraid of letting Poles across the frontier. They have achieved an extraordinary material prosperity at the price of total political subjection. Poland, on the contrary, is desperately poor; but the winds of freedom blow there in wild gusts. For the lone rail traveler (the fleas and I were the only passenegers in the car that night) the contrast is startling. The Czech frontier guards roused me from my bench in some black and frozen corner of nowhere at four in the morning to ask acrimoniously why I had not flown. I was so much quicker and more comfortable. It must be that I wanted to see something. I pointed to the grime-laden windows and the blackness beyond. But they did not seem convinced. A few minutes later, the Poles entered . . . The Poles were cheery and corrupt, in a fine liberal style. Was I an academic? What did I teach? Had I any dollars to sell? Hints that I liked to sleep at four in the morning struck them as absurd. In Prague one could sleep. There was nothing else to do. But surely not in Poland. There was so much to talk about. Soon dawn was coming up over mud-soaked, gray southern Poland."

Steiner's description of Warsaw, still devastated by the war and in ruins, is vivid and sobering. Interestingly the book review section of the magazine includes a review of Steiner's book, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism, which the reviewer calls "a book to read and learn from many times over."

The Hentoff essay is called "Race Prejudice in Jazz: It Works Both Ways." I approached this piece with some trepidation, I must admit, although I have certainly come to admire Hentoff's insights into the music and also to trust his political and cultural leanings. At any rate, I needn't have worried. While the piece does begin by pointing out the examples of black musicians' sometimes only grudging acceptance of white jazz musicians, Hentoff spends much, much more time explaining the hardships of being a black musician in America and the reasons why the might feel that way. It made me wonder whether the title was Hentoff's own creation or whether some editor had come up with it to make the piece seem "balanced." Alternatively, I wondered whether the title had indeed by created by Hentoff as sort of a enticement to lure the less savvy readers into his descriptions of racial conditions that such readers might not otherwise voluntarily enter into.

Those are the highlights. My next such periodical will be the January 1959 edition of The Atlantic.

elokuu 26, 2021, 2:46 pm

The Atlantic Monthly - January 1959, Volume 203, Number 1

Read as a "between book" (see first post). This was another off the stack of old magazines sitting at the bottom of my home office closet that I'm gradually reading through. This issue wasn't as consistently interesting as some of the others I've read recently, though there were some noteworthy entries. The cover article, "Admiral Rickover's Gamble: the Landlocked Submarine" by Commander E.E. Kintner, describes Rickover's campaign to sell the idea of an atomic submarine to the U.S. government and joint chiefs, and his insistence that a full scale prototype be built and tested on dry land before anything got put in the water. The details of this process, including the various tests and the unknowns successfully overcome, made very interesting reading, whatever one's thoughts atomic power, and atomic submarines in particular, might be.

George Kennan's essay about the American military expeditions in Russia immediately after World War I provides an excellent overview of that now mostly forgotten chapter.

Ralph Samuelson's short story, "A Beautiful Game," about racism in the country club tennis world, was well written and engaging.

The issue also included the final installment of the Atlantic serialization of a novel called "Sigh for a Strange Land" by Monica Stirling. Well, I was not about to read the final section of a novel, not having read the first parts, was I? So I went online and ordered the full novel. It looks very good, and Stirling's story is interesting, as well. I am going to be reading that book soon, so details will have to wait until then!

Those are the highlights.

elokuu 26, 2021, 2:50 pm

>28 rocketjk: "Well, I was not about to read the final section of a novel, not having read the first parts, was I? So I went online and ordered the full novel. "

Right... that's how they get you... then you wonder why the pile of unread books keep growing :P

elokuu 27, 2021, 2:36 am

>29 AnnieMod: Ha! Well, I agree with the first part of your sentence, but I don't have to wonder about my pile of unread books. There's no mystery to it. I'm just flat out addicted to buying them! :)

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 13, 2021, 2:50 pm

San Francisco Life Magazine - Volume VI, No. 5 - April, 1938 edited by E. I. Campbell

This is another of the stack of old magazines sitting at the bottom of my office closet that I've been gradually reading through. This one is so slight that I would have skipped listing it here were it not for a couple of items that caught my attention, one historical and one personal.

The publication was clearly one meant specifically for members of San Francisco high society, or for those with an interest in following their exploits. There are two or three "Who's Been Seen Where?"-type columns, with all of the names and events of the upper crust variety. I scanned through these, wondering, as I lived in San Francisco for 22 years, beginning, however, 48 years after the publication of this magazine, whether I'd recognize any of the names, or at least the family names. I was surprised that I did not, but maybe I shouldn't have been.

The one particularly interesting column was a lament about the tearing down of the Columbia (nee Orpheum) Theater, opened in 1887, destroyed in the fire following the earthquake of 1906, and then rebuilt, and about to be finally taken down in 1938. The unnamed writer chronicles the theater's highlights, including dramatic and comedic plays and the venue's long run as a vaudeville house.

The ads are fun, of course. If I still lived in San Francisco it might be a fun project to go around to all the addresses of the businesses advertised here, taking pictures of what exists at those locations, now. My guess is that I wouldn't find a single of those businesses still operating. Could be a cool blog, though.

One advertisement really caught my attention, however, and this is the "historic" item mentioned above. The entire back cover of the magazine is taken up by an advertisement for a newspaper called The San Francisco News. More specifically, the advertisers are letting us know about an upcoming series ("An Article a Day -- for 30 Days!") called "Roosevelt's Own Story." "An entirely new, dramatic account of the New Deal--by the man who made it!" First, I was sort of surprised that the paper would think it useful to advertise a series about the creation of the New Deal on the back cover of this clearly upper class, and thereby presumably Republican, magazine. But what really grabbed my attention was the newspaper's slogan: "San Francisco's complete, white, Home Newspaper." Wait . . . white? Don't worry: I'm well aware that there is, was, and has always been racism of all sorts in San Francisco, as everywhere in the U.S. But that seemed pretty blatant to me. I wondered whether the term meant what I thought it meant, or whether maybe they were differentiating themselves from the "yellow journalism" of the Hearst newspapers.

I did my best to run an online search and came up with a brief wikipedia entry that says, in part, "The Daily News, later titled The San Francisco News, was a newspaper published in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1903 by E. W. Scripps as a four-page penny paper. In its early years, it was the smallest of the several newspapers in San Francisco. It advertised itself as the "friend of the working man." It was distributed only in working class districts: Mission District, Skid Row, South of the Slot. It specialized in short, easy-to-read stories one to two paragraphs long. After the 1906 earthquake, it operated out of a former 720 sq ft 'relief house.' It changed its name to The San Francisco News in 1927, and in August 1959 merged with Hearst's The Call Bulletin to form the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin."

Well, I have learned in quite a bit of reading about San Francisco history that all the way up to World War 2 (when China became our allies in the war), "friend of the working man" in San Francisco usually meant something along the lines of "friend of the white working man" to the exclusion, specifically and often emphatically, of Asian immigrant workers. But, wow, again, pretty blatant! According to that wikipedia entry, copies and clippings of the newspaper are on file for public view in San Francisco, so, again, if I still lived in town . . .

I was also somewhat pleasantly surprised, given the general hum of antisemitism that ran through American upper classes in those days, the following letter (excerpted) to the editor in the front of the magazine from the president of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center:

"Please accept our sincere thanks for your splendid cooperation in according space to the Jewish Community Center in the columns of your paper. We feel that this valuable publicity has helped in bringing to the attention of the public the recreational-educational program offered by the center."

In the April 1938 edition of San Francisco Life, that "cooperation" consisted basically of listing the center's events in the listings of Arts and Lecture events at the back of the magazine. In any event, I scanned the lectures column interested mainly in seeing if I'd recognize any names. I recognized one: "Dr. Joachim Prinz, Jewish Center, Topic: The Future of World Jewry." The reason this jumped to my attention was that almost exactly 30 years after this magazine was published, June 22, 1968, to be exact, Dr. Prinz, as rabbi of Temple B'Nai Abraham in Newark, NJ, stood beside me at the front of that temple as I was bar mitzvahed! So that's the personal note I mentioned above. I wasn't that surprised to see Rabbi Prinz's name as a speaker. I remember Rabbi Prinz as a very kind man who sometimes came to our Hebrew School classes (although there was a younger associate rabbi who mostly handled this job.) He had been a figure of the American Jewish Community since fleeing Nazism (he'd been a rabbi in Berlin) in 1937. He also became prominent in the American Civil Rights movement and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington rally shortly before Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. A quick online search will yield several photos of Prinz with Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, including meetings at the White House with JFK. (Looks like there is a children's book coming out in November about them! --

Well, gee, that's a pretty long essay for a 46-page magazine!

helmikuu 15, 2022, 1:50 pm

I finished reading through The York Times Magazine from April 18, 1982. The four featured pieces were all very interesting:

* "The Failed Mission: The Inside Account of the Attempt to Free the Hostages in Iran" by Zbigniew Brzezinski (This was the cover story.)
* "How the Chinese Police Themselves" by Fox Butterfield
* "The Alternative to Arms Control" by Barbara Tuchman and
* "American Jews and the Holocaust" by Lucy S. Dawidowicz

I've since begun reading gradually through the July 1962 edition of Show: The Magazine of the Arts.

elokuu 5, 2022, 3:47 pm

I finished a gradual read through of Show - The Magazine of the Arts, July 1962.

This is another entry from the stack of old magazines sitting at the bottom of my closet that I'm trying to gradually read through. I tried running an online search to learn the history and duration of this publication, but couldn't find anything. I must admit I didn't spend a lot of time on it. At any rate, this July 1962 edition of Show provided a very rich selection of reading, indeed. The central theme of the edition was the Japanese film industry. Among the articles on this topic were an interesting profile of Akira Kurosawa and his movies and a humorous piece on the many openings in Japan for Americans and Europeans (no acting experience necessary!) to play movie villains. But there were many fascinating pieces above and beyond that central theme. For example, we have a long entry from Somerset Maugham's memoirs describing his unfortunate marriage but also his activities working for the British government during World War One. Also, an evocative and absorbing memory essay from Joseph Heller describing the Coney Island of his youth. Another was a fascinating essay by dancer/actor/writer Geoffrey Holder about his participation in an American government sponsored cultural expedition to Lagos. And Leonard Feather writes about the health of the jazz festival. These are some of the most interesting pieces, and also on hand are reviews of movies, plays, music, books visual art and more, all providing a snapshot of the American world of the arts in 1962. I love these old magazines for the pictures and knowledge they provide of the eras in which they were published.

tammikuu 7, 6:05 pm

My first magazine completed during 2023, after my usual gradual read through, is Show - The Magazine of the Performing Arts, January 1962 edited by Robert M. Wool

Read as a "Between Book" (see first post). I have a stack of old magazines in the closet of my home office that I've picked up along the way at thrift stores and used bookshops and such. I have been gradually reading through them with an eye toward the recycling bin, except for rare occasions when I find them worth keeping. Several on that stack are different editions of Show Magazine. Last year I read the July 1962 edition. And while this January 1962 edition was interesting, it didn't quite match its July cousin in quality.

There were a series of interesting reviews and columns, most notably Virgil Thompson's reviews of the recent operas adapted from the novels The Crucible and Wings of the Dove, John Simon's lament about the ennui of the theater of that day entitled "How to be Bored in Three Acts" and Leonard Feather's unfortunate (as seen from my own tastes) savaging of the avant garde jazz of his day, which he refers to as "anti-jazz." Of the feature stories, the most interesting are theater critic Harold Hobson's interview with John Gielgud, a complaint about the "current" condition of New York's 42nd Street area by Henry Hope Reed, Jr. and Gay Talese, and a feature about Otto Preminger's encampment in Washington, D.C. for the filming of the movie version of Advise and Consent.

The next magazine added to the rotation will be still another edition of Show, this one from March 1963.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 13, 11:41 am

Life Magazine - October 24, 1969 edited by Ralph Graves

Another old magazine off the stack on the floor of my home office. This edition of Life was particularly intriguing for me due to my memories of so many of the events written about here, as I turned 14 in July 1969. Of most interest was the relatively long article, with photos, about the Vietnam War Moratorium that had just taken place in Washington, DC, hundreds of thousands strong, as well as side pieces about the Nixon Administration's response. Also interesting was the piece on the community that had developed among heart-transplant recipients, very much still a new technology at that time, and on a more humorous note, the dynamic between the Washington Redskins' fun-loving quarterback, Sonny Jurgensen, and disciplinarian Vince Lombardi at the start of the latter's short, post-Packers tenure as head coach in Washington. Finally, there was a nostalgia-inducing piece about the early days of rock "supergroup" Blind Faith. I can still recall what a big deal it was for my high school friends and I when Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream and Steve Windwood from Traffic got together to form that band.

marraskuu 20, 12:00 pm

Coronet - June 1, 1938 edited by Arnold Gingrich

Read as a "between book" (see first post). Coronet Magazine was a digest-sized monthly publication founded in 1936 and lasting into the early 1970s. By 1938, Arnold Gingrich had taken over as editor. This edition of Coronet is fascinating, indeed. It includes four short stories, including the strongly anti-Jim Crow "Runaway" by Erskine Caldwell. A chilling column on atrocities by journalist Edward Hunter, enumerating those perpetrated by both sides in the Spanish Civil War, in the Japanese invasion of China and by the Italians then invading Ethiopia, all places Hunter had been. There is a fascinating report by Meyer Levin entitled "Epic of Palestine," about life (and violent death) in early Jewish farming settlements during the 1920s and 30s, complete an incredible series of photographs. And speaking of photographs, there is a long photo essay (accompanied by a short bio) of Hungarian photographer Ernö Vadas, followed by an equally long collection of photos by several more contemporary Europeans photographers. There is an essay on the young stage/production wunderkind Orson Wells and his Mercury Theater, a series of silhouettes by artist Paul Swartz. A biography of Verdi. Well, that's just a short selection of the wonderful, fascinating and illuminating entries in this terrific, 85-year old magazine. Super cool. I love old publications.