Ramparts magazine started as a sleepy little Catholic journal of writing, but exploded onto the radical journalism scene in the mid-1960s with an expose of Michigan State University’s ties to the CIA and their role in the Vietnam War. Paul Richardson’s book on Ramparts appropriately called “A Bomb on Every Page” is the first look at a magazine that help create an entire genre of news reporting by reintroducing muckraking into journalism. Ramparts through its whistle blowing style writing kick-started investigative reporting and left behind a legacy counter culture magazines and reporters.
In its time it carried such controversial article as “The University on the Make”, an interview with Che and Eldridge Cleaver’s prison letters. Major leaders of the time such as Martin Luther King attributed their change of heart about the Vietnam War to Ramparts’ reporting. It was the magazine’s revelations about MSU and the CIA however that put the publication’s circulation into the stratosphere.
Paul Richardson follows the magazine from its earliest days and tells all the trials and tribulations of a magazine that included Noam Chomsky, Ken Kesey and Hunter Thompson among contributors. He tells the obligatory tale of a Hunter Thompson visit to the magazine wherein the pet monkey of the executive editor Warren Hinckle finds Thompson’s stash of pills. Richards has constructed a great piece of history about a time and a magazine that has been virtually forgotten. Read a review and an interview with Richardson in the Lansing City Pulse by clicking here.