The recent publication of Peter Richardson’s “A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America” evokes memories of when San Francisco dominated pop culture and counterculture.
The 1960s gave birth to what became known as “the San Francisco Sound” (the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana and others), the hippie movement, vocal anti-Vietnam War protests, and some ground-breaking magazines including Rolling Stone (1967), Berkeley Barb (1965) and later Mother Jones (1976). The magazine that preceded and influenced them all was Ramparts.
Founded in 1962 as a Catholic literary quarterly, Ramparts soon became the muckraking voice of the New Left when Warren Hinckle took over as executive editor and Robert Scheer joined as managing editor. Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, Hunter Thompson, Eldridge Cleaver, Christopher Hitchens, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag, Erica Jong, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jann Wenner, and Adam Hochschild were just a few of the noteworthy writers who contributed to the editorial content.