Synopses & Reviews
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2004
After spilling bourbon on Schnaubelt's grave, its pugnacious and very dead occupant becomes Ross's mentor, sidekick, and boozing companion through this epic telling of the hallucinatory, carnal, and ornery histories of the American Left and John Ross's own remarkable life. Schnaubelt navigates us through his seemingly boundless revolutionary battleground, uttering cries of subversion from within the grave while trying to remain out of earshot from the FBI snoop and local supermarket tycoon buried nearby. Ross's own story—hobo revolutionist, junkie, poet, and journalist is a contrapuntal to Schnaubelt's. Ross never takes himself too seriously, yet his most remarkable trait is the honesty with which he approaches life, even while trying to deconstruct his own faults, personal tragedies (including the death of his one-month-old son), and imperfections. His pursuit of revolutionary politics and poetics is the constant, often spent with his muse, Revolutionary Mexico. Ross concludes with a trip to Baghdad as a "human shield," before the Anglo-American invasion, ready to sacrifice his life as part of his perpetual struggle for justice. Award-winning writer John Ross's memoir is inspired from a tumbledown tombstone in California: The headstone reads: E. B. Schnaubelt 1855–1913, "Murdered by Capitalism."
- Ross has logged over 20,000 miles in the past year bringing the story of the Zapatista struggle to North American audiences from Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies to the Narciso Martinez Cultural Center in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
About the Author
A native of New York City's Greenwich Village and a younger beat poet, John Ross
tore up his draft card in 1957 and moved to Mexico from where he has been covering Latin America for the past 50 years for print and electronic media outlets, among them the San Francisco Bay Guardian
, Noticias Aliadas
, La Jornada
, and Counterpunch
. The author of ten volumes of fiction and non-fiction and an equal number of poetry chapbooks, Ross is the recipient of the American Book Award (1995) and the Upton Sinclair prize (2005). He has lived in the old quarter of Mexico City since the great 1985 earthquake.