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Book Bag


By Raymond Mungo

University of Massachusetts Press


This picaresque memoir by ’60s rebel Ray Mungo, long out of print, has recently been reissued by the University of Massachusetts Press, with a new epilogue by the author. Calling it a memoir is something of a stretch, since Mungo was about 23 when he wrote it, but it’s an illuminating account of one young man’s journey through radical student politics, anti-Vietnam War protests, drug experimentation and the alternative press.

Mungo, born in 1946, came from a conservative working-class family in Lawrence but as a college student in Boston became swept up in the growing youth rebellion against the Vietnam War and “the system,” a society that, he says, oppressed blacks and women and insisted on conformity.

In 1966, he turned down a graduate fellowship at Harvard University in Cambridge and headed to Minneapolis, and then to Washington, D.C., to co-found Liberation News Service (LNS), a sort of radical Associated Press that generated articles for alternative newspapers across the country.

LNS would eventually dissolve amid bitter factionalism and internal politics. Mungo’s path would take him to a back-to-the-land farm and commune in Montague and finally on a journey through Asia in search of more enlightenment.

In the epilogue to the new edition, Mungo writes of his book, “I was stoned every minute I was writing it. It was kid stuff. But it struck a nerve and the story survives. I’m grateful.” And indeed, “Famous Long Ago” seems to trace the trajectory of the 1960s pretty well, from idealism and energy to disappointment and disillusionment — and eventually acceptance.

Mungo went on to write several other books and some screenplays, and at one time he owned a small press and bookstore. More recently he has been a social worker in the Los Angeles area, helping AIDS patients and the mentally ill.


By Ellen Evert Hopman

mPowr (Publishing) Ltd.


Valley author and herbalist Ellen Evert Hopman has written and lectured on Celtic history and spirituality, herbal lore, paganism and other related subjects. She is also a lay homeopath with a master’s degree in mental health counseling. In her new book, “The Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen,” she combines her interests to show how everyday foods can be used for medicinal purposes to promote well-being.

In this soft cover illustrated manual, Hopman provides an A-to-Z listing of foods and spices that she maintains have healthful qualities beyond their nutritional value. Ginger, for example, can be grated into a pot of water and heated, then added to bathwater to help fight the common cold. Strawberries can be mashed into a paste and placed on sunburned skin to reduce the pain, or to freshen the face. Or use the fruit to whiten teeth: Leave the fruit on your teeth for five minutes, then brush with water and bicarbonate of soda.

Struggling with insomnia? Hopman writes that lettuce “is very calming” and suggests simmering a few lettuce leaves in a pint of hot water for 20 minutes, then straining and drinking the concoction before going to bed.

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