A Note on Reviews


Obviously, I can't be pleased with the quality of writing of some of these early reviews, even though I stand behind their arguments. I never intended to write reviews and for my first few years didn't, but the pressure of earning a living by writing turned me to the expediency of negotiating them with magazines, since they proportionally paid higher for 750 words than 5000 - 15,000 word articles did (the length of what I wrote for Parachute). At the time, around 1983-1984, I figured I had to write three reviews a month just to pay rent for my office, let alone my apartment, so there was hardly a break between one review and another as I feed another sheet of paper into my Smith-Corona platen. By contrast, articles were more finished. Those for Vanguard, for instance, took a week to write. (See "A Writer's Wages" [here] for an accounting of what I earned as a writer.)

The reason to publish the earlier reviews on this site, rather than let them linger bound out of sight in periodical volumes in libraries, is the value they have in amplifying a historical debate. The reviews of David Clarkson, Marc De Guerre, and Oliver Girling must be read within the context of the polemic I waged at the time and found in "Axes of Difference," for instance.