Author Pat Thomas will be at Book Beat (26010 Greenfield Rd, Oak Park, MI 48237) on Wednesday, April 4th at 6:30 PM to discuss his book Did It! From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin. Call Book Beat at (248) 968-1190 with any questions.
“Pat Thomas’s Did It! is the first biography of Rubin, 13 years after his death. The oversized book is a testament to an enormous persona –or as Hoffman is quoted on the inside front sleeve, an ego “almost as big as mine, but not quite.” While Did It! is a coffee table book, it’s far more than just that: it’s difficult to resist pulling the book into your lap to read not only Thomas’s narrative but the hundreds of clips, letters, and ephemera collected for this tome….Thomas drives home the point that Rubin was not a sellout but rather a sort of visionary.” review in Pop-Matters
“An eye-opener for those who remember the ’60s; for everyone else, a welcome introduction to that tumultuous time as illustrated through one of its most memorable personalities.” –KIrkus review
Rich in yippie/hippie goodness, a scrapbooklike biography of the agitator and gadfly who went from the barricades to Wall Street—and ticked everybody off at every point along the way.
Mention the word “yippie” to a person of a certain age, and the first person who comes to mind will most likely be Abbie Hoffman. That’s not quite fair, writes music and pop-culture journalist Thomas (Listen, Whitey!: The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, 2012, etc.): “Abbie was a fan of Jerry before Jerry even knew Abbie existed.” Active in leftist politics since the early 1960s, Rubin (1938-1994) was a Zelig of dissent, everywhere at once, influential to everyone he met—including soon-to-be-former Beatle John Lennon and a re-emerging Bob Dylan. Rubin was also one of the Chicago Eight, a guy with an FBI file a foot thick, under suspicion for every sort of mayhem, including a presumed threat to lace the water supply of the Windy City with enough LSD to send every Chicagoan on an intergalactic trip. (Here, Thomas helpfully fact-checks: “it would take five tons of acid to effectively contaminate the water supply,” showing just how outlandish the government’s investigations could get back in the day.) As the author writes, sardonically, Rubin was so controversial that his prep school didn’t invite him back for the 25th anniversary—but enshrined him as one of the class heroes at the 50th, by which time he had come back from living underground and become an investment banker, earning the enmity of many erstwhile comrades. Things did not end well for Rubin, author of the famed take-it-to-the-man countercultural manifesto Do It! Thomas’s oversized, overstuffed book, studded with photos and news clippings, charts that unlikely trajectory, noting, sympathetically, that “no matter who Jerry was at any given moment…it was never a put-on.”
An eye-opener for those who remember the ’60s; for everyone else, a welcome introduction to that tumultuous time as illustrated through one of its most memorable personalities.
On Pat Thomas’ previous book LIsten, Whitey!
“This kind of documentation highlights one of Listen, Whitey!’s strengths: its breadth of explorations of Black Power’s influence on everything and everyone from Motown, to jazz poetry and performance, to comedians, to radio DJs, to the rock music counterculture. In short, Listen, Whitey! delivers Black Power as Americana….The book is meticulously detailed, reflecting Thomas’s skills as a researcher (and record producer), yet conversational in tone, balancing the voice of a rock critic with the heft of a historian.” –review from the Los Angeles Review of Books
Pat Thomas is an A&R director who has reissued vintage recordings from Elaine Brown, the Watts Prophets, as well as many others. He is the co-producer of the Wheedle’s Groove series of releases archiving the soul music of Seattle during the 1960s and ’70s. His essays and interviews have appeared in Mojo, Crawdaddy, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Ptolemaic Terrascope. He has also lectured at UCLA, San Francisco State University, Evergreen State College, and Merritt College. Thomas currently lives in LA.