The Education of Gregory Mcdonald
Sketches from the Sixties: Writings about America, 1966-1973 (1985)
Preferred title:
"Souvenirs of a BlownWorld"

     "Go have fun and write about it. If
you end up cut and bleeding on the
sidewalk, call the city desk."
-Thomas Winship, Editor, April 1964.

     "Even though I was there, as publisher,
I didn't really understand what Greg
Mcdonald was doing, or gain a true
perspective on the sixties, the hurly
burly, the deep conflicts, the emotions
of the era until I read the collection
of his Globe writingsWarner Books
put out a year or two ago. This
collection will stand as a great,
contributing insight to a confusing era
which I now suspect had a goal of making morally aware, morally responsible all our institutions, including government.
-Davis Taylor, Publisher of The Boston Globe, speaking at Boston Harvard Club, circa 1987.

     In 1964, publisher Davis Taylor, to make The Boston Globe more intracity competitive (instead of intercity), hired Gregory Mcdonald (author of "Running Scared") to write for The Sunday Magazine. Mcdonald has since said, "At that time the contents of the magazine reliably were confined to pictures of the Cardinal, and Symphony or Museum ladies having tea. The Globe had recently moved from the center of Boston to a huge plant, on Morrissey Bldv., Dorchester. All this action was going on in the streets, particularly church basements, new music, painting, theatre, politics. All I did was hit the streets, write down what people who cared about things said, and printed it in The Globe." Readership of the magazine soared. Advertisers pulled out. The Taylors considered firing Mcdonald. Shortly, to attract the higher readership, advertisers had to buy back in - at higher rates.

     "Greg taught us something about publishing."
-John Taylor, President

     Considered liberal, Mcdonald insists he is of conservative thoughts and habits. "Those were times so liberal in seven years I could find only one stringer of a conservative bent, Yalie Tony Dolan." Legend has it that Mcdonald was the first in the American major media to write openly against the War in Vietnam, for civil rights, women's rights and gay rights. "What happened during the sixties did not happen in the streets, college campuses, or in the media," Mcdonald has said. "What happened no one yet seems to understand is that middle-aged and older persons stopped writing checks to universities, churches, all institutions, including politicians." Whatever, the legend continues to Mcdonald being beat-up in the Globe parking lot by a gang of his fellow employees, and for seven months thereafter having to meet with his editor, Ian Forman, in strange places outside the office. After three years with the magazine, Mcdonald became critic-at-large columnist for the Morning, Evening, and Sunday Globe, then Arts and Humanities Editor as well.

     In time, politics, issues, celebrities fade away. Will Mdonald's extraordinary sketch of Jack Kerouac? "Claude Smith"? John Wayne? Hugh MacDiarmid? Joan Baez? Donovan? Father James Groppi? Krishnamurti? Phil Ochs? L. Frances Herreschoff? Louise Nevelson? Human beings in a time and a place...

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