“I think about him all the time,” Doris Moskowitz says about her Dad, Moe, the Radical Bookseller in the title of this collection of charming, outrageous and humorous history, photos and reminiscences.
That is, IF we are “playful and smart,” “put up with no bullshit” (except our own), work “hard and honestly,” even if we are – or maybe because we are – “eccentric,” “narcissistic and inconsistent and impossible to manage.” Moe came to Berkeley in 1959 and also came up against the City Council and their ordinances for his sidewalk paperback kiosk, sales of (“pornographic” and “obscene”) Zap and Snatch comics (R Crumb) and smoking his cigar; but also threw in with the Print Mint, Shambhala Booksellers and nourished the Free Speech Movement, People’s Park, Vietnam War protestors; Logos, Black Oak and Shakespeare & Co Books; Amoeba and Rasputin’s as well as “an endless stream of writers and scholars.”
|Moes-Feb-1975 Photo-by-Richard-Friedman, Quirky Berkeley|
Not all of us are as “brilliant” as Moe, but “passion” about “irreverence and artistic, personal and political freedom” sure help. He was also good at hiring, respecting and trusting workers, friends and family members with “unbelievable expertise” to help him do it. Conventional bookstores DO NOT want employees to be “autonomous” or make “bold choices,” and ONLY independent owner-managers have the savvy and liberty to “let them tell him how it should be within the store.”
|Doris Moskowitz, Berkeley Bookseller|
This may be the only way someone can be so curmudgeonly and successful at the same time. Support your local independent bookstore! And if you can’t find it anyplace else, “Try Moe’s.”
Moskowitz, Doris Jo, Radical Bookselling: A Life of Moe Moskowitz, Moe’s Books, 2476 Telegraph Av., Berkeley, CA, 94704, 2016.