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Sunday October 23, 2016
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Voices from the Underground



Although a piece on the Ann Arbor Sun fell through, retired Michigan Today editor John Woodford recalled his four years at Muhammad Speaks, the paper of the Nation of Islam. "The Devil has built his empire on lies," leader Elijah Muhammad told him in his job interview, "and we can destroy it with the truth." The book includes a letter he received, signed "Elijah Muhammad, Messenger of Allah."

Wachsberger was so moved by two long narratives that he ran them at book length. Michael Kindman's poignant story fills all of Volume Two. An editor of one of East Lansing's first underground papers, Kindman moved on to the Avatar in Boston, where he was sucked into the cultish world of editor Mel Lyman. He fled to San Francisco where, Wachsberger writes, he embraced the "gay men's pagan spiritual network 'Radical Faeries.'" He died of AIDS in 1991, shortly after finishing his autobiography.

Volume Four consists of the memories of ex-prisoner Joe Grant; sent to Leavenworth for counterfeiting, he founded Prisoners Digest International after his release. Grant and Wachsberger became friends, and the ex-con was central to his first attempt to publish Voices from the Underground.

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