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Resources for Further Reading

This site provides an overview of the events in Chicago in 1968 in order to contextualize the film Medium Cool; it does not claim to be comprehensive in scope. The following list provides resources for readers interested in learning more about the film and issues of media in American culture during the 1960s.

Jump to:
1960s Film | Television Coverage of the Convention | New Journalism | Stories from the Streets |
Media, the Image, and Society | Television War | Alternative Press

1960s Film

Medium Cool employs many techniques of cinema verite, a film style increasingly popular in the late 1960s, especially among documentary filmmakers. These books and articles provide more information about 1960s film, documentary, and the cinema verite movement:

Barnouw, Erik. Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. 1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Ellis, Jack C. The Documentary Idea: A Critical History of English-Language Film and Video. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989.

James, David E. Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Mamber, Stephen. Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1974.

Mordden, Ethan. Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

Renov, Michael. The Subject of Documentary. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Shatnoff, Judith, and Richard Corliss. "Reviews: Medium Cool." Film Quarterly 23.2 (Winter 1969-1970): 47-57.

Television Coverage of the Convention

Television footage from the 1960s is hard to obtain—and pricy. For a fee, however, the Vanderbilt University TV News Archive <http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/> will compile footage from the major networks. The videos listed below provide some examples of television footage from the era, though often with voiceover narration:

1968: A Look for New Meanings. Prod. CBS News. 2 videocassettes. Films for the Humanities, 1978.

America Against Itself. Dir. William C. Jersey. Videocassette. Quest Productions, 1968.

The American Experience: Chicago 1968. Writ. and prod. Chana Gazit. Videocassette. PBS Video, 1996.

New Journalism

Medium Cool is a liminal film that straddles the line between fiction and nonfiction. In the 1960s, many journalists were exploring this boundary by writing about actual events using fictional techniques such as subjective narration, a method that writer Tom Wolfe termed "New Journalism." These are New Journalism books that cover political and cultural events of the period in an unconventional way:

Didion, Joan. Slouching Toward Bethlehem. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1968.

Herr, Michael. Dispatches. 1977. New York: Vintage, 1991.

Mailer, Norman. The Armies of the Night: History as Novel, The Novel as History. 1968. New York: Plume, 1994.

Mailer, Norman. Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968. New York: World Publishing Company, 1968.

McGinniss, Joe. The Selling of the President: The Classic Account of the Packaging of a Candidate. 1969. New York: Penguin, 1988.

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. New York: Popular Library, 1973.

Stories from the Streets: Protesters' Accounts

After the Chicago convention, many liberal cultural figures who were eyewitnesses to the street demonstrations weighed in with their version of the week's events. One helpful resource, edited by Walter Schneir, is Telling It Like It Was: The Chicago Riots (New York: Signet, 1969), a compilation of magazine and newspaper articles that followed the event. The book includes stories from William Burroughs, William Styron, Jimmy Breslin, Tom Hayden, Jean Genet, Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Miller, Abbie Hoffman, Dave Dellinger, Paul Krassner, Terry Southern, and many others. Here are other resources that came out shortly after the August events:

America Against Itself. Dir. William C. Jersey. Videocassette. Quest Productions, 1968.

Lane, Mark. Chicago Eyewitness. New York: Astor-Honor, Inc., 1968.

Schultz, John. No One Was Killed; Documentation and Meditation: Convention Week, Chicago, August 1968. Chicago: Big Table Publishing Company, 1969.

Walker, Daniel. Rights in Conflict. Report Submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1968.

Media, the Image, and Society

These texts provide context for understanding the changing role of media in American society:

Barnouw, Erik. Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. 2nd Rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. 1972. London: BBC and Penguin, 1977.

Boorstin, Daniel. The Image, or What Happened to the American Dream. New York: Atheneum, 1961.

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.

Orvell, Miles. The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Dell, 1980.

The Television War

Violence on television was not new to the American public watching the riots at the Chicago convention. These resources examine how Vietnam, the first televised war, affected American society:

Arlen, Michael J. Living-Room War. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Burnette, Elizabeth. The 6:00 Follies: Hegemony, Television News, and the War of Attrition. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma05/burnette/thesis/home.html>.

Delli Carpini, Michael X. "U.S. Media Coverage of the Vietnam Conflict in 1968." The Vietnam Era: Media and Popular Culture in the U.S. and Vietnam. Ed. Michael Klein. Winchester: Pluto Press, 1990. 38-64.

Hallin, Daniel C. The "Uncensored War": The Media and Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Martin, Andrew. Receptions of War: Vietnam in American Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.

Alternative Press

Alternative and underground newspapers, which were critical in publicizing the convention demonstrations, flowered on college campuses beginning the mid-1960s. Raymond Mungo's Famous Long Ago: My Life and Hard Times with the Liberation News Service (New York: Beacon, 1970) provides a detailed account of the evolution (and devolution) of one such publication. The book is out of print, but used copies can be found online.