Based at first in decrepit surroundings in Washington, DC, LNS’s first big story was the massive antiwar demonstration at the Pentagon in October 1967. The young Mungo (he was about 22) records the turbulent office politics that led, in 1968, to a schism with a faction he dubs The Vulgar Marxists. By this time the office had moved to Claremont Avenue in New York, near the Columbia campus, an advantageous site for covering the 1968 uprising at the university. The Mungo-Bloom faction absconded to rural New England, taking with it a printing press and a cache of lns funds. Mungo describes in lurid tones a violent night during which the New York faction tried to retrieve the taken goods.

Allen Young, an important figure in keeping LNS going, has called Mungo’s account “self-serving and one-sided.” Probably so. But the story reveals something of the audacity, even recklessness, that enabled the young left to capture the attention of the nation and the world—and the shallowness and impulsiveness that made it too weak to survive. Mungo lives on, having taken other paths; his LNS partner, Bloom, committed suicide in 1969. 

 

James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.