Ginsberg and the beatniks can be associated chronologically with the aggressively activist sociology of C. Wright Mills—let us say with the publication of Mills’ Causes of World War III (1957), which is about the point at which Mills’ writing turned from scholarship to first-class pamphleteering. Mills was by no means the first postwar figure who sought to tell it like it is about the state of American public life and culture. . . . But it was Mills who caught on. His tone was more blatant; his rhetoric, catchier. He was the successful academic who suddenly began to cry for action in a lethargic profession, in a lethargic society. . . .
In which a noted journalist and contributing editor of the Atlantic confesses the gory, personal details of writing, (and not writing) his first novel. The novel itself, Going All the Way, has just been published by Seymour Lawrence/Delacorte Press, and is an August selection of the Literary Guild.
Even for those born too late to experience the twenties in American history, those days have come to be associated with the “twenties” in our lives, says Mr. Wakefield in this study of the lives and times of the many writers who populate the pages of John Dos Passos ’ newly published memoir, THE BEST TIMES (New American Library).
The news and the literary establishment are talking about “nonfiction novels" and “parajournalism,” but Dan Wakefield finds such labels to be little more than Wolfe’s clothing disguising familiar old sheep. An accomplished journalist and author whose latest book, BETWEEN THE LINES, is reviewed on page 138, Mr. Wakefield here speaks out for the first person singular and individual involvement as the ingredients which can elevate the craft of reporting to an art.
Dan Wakefield is a free-lance writer and spent the 1963-1964 academic year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He is the author of ISLAND IN THE CITY and a 1955 graduate of Columbia College.