FROM RADICAL SON: A GENERATIONAL ODYSSEY, BY DAVID HOROWITZ. THE FREE PRESS. 468 PP. $27.50.
Ramparts occupied something of an ambivalent place in the imagination of the Left [in the 1960s]. Its glossy, four-color format was in striking contrast to the newsprint tabloids of the “underground press,” and aroused suspicion in a movement that rejected the symbols of capitalist success. The personal styles of its editors reinforced these doubts. [Political editor Robert] Scheer lived in a spacious two-story brown shingle on Benvenue Avenue, in a posh section of the south campus area. He paid himself an annual salary of $25,000 – three times that of staff writers like me, and five times what the black receptionist made. [Editor-in-chief Warren] Hinckle set a pace that was even more flamboyant. Three-hour, sixmartini editorial lunches at Vanessi’s Restaurant in San Francisco, junkets to the Algonquin Hotel in New York, and first-class fare wherever he and Scheer went, added fodder to the Left’s indictment. On the other hand, Ramparts’s radical credentials could not be so easily dismissed. Its campaign against the CIA, its Black Panther franchise, its publication of Che Guevara’s diaries approved personally by Fidel – were bona fides that commanded respect.
Horowitz is the co-author of The Rockefellers and The Kennedys, and editor of the journal Heterodoxy. He was an editor at Ramparts from 1968 until 1973.
Copyright Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism Jul/Aug 1997
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