He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, and reported the following:
No, I wouldn't quite say that the quality of Smoking Typewriters is revealed by page 99 (or any other page) of the book. There are a couple of reasons for this.Visit John McMillian's website, and learn more about the book at the Oxford University Press website.
First, I worked on the manuscript over a long period of time, and in different iterations. Some of the chapters in the book were originally drafted for my Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia. One chapter evolved out of a stand-alone essay that I originally wrote for a literary magazine called The Believer, and a couple more were written after I knew this would be published as a trade book by Oxford. Once I’d finished a draft of the entire manuscript, I went over it again, and tried to make sure that I maintained a consistent tone throughout, so I don't think the average reader would have an easy time figuring out which chapters were originally intended for which purpose. But I suppose I’m still a little sensitive to this.
Another thing is, much of the book is done in a narrative style, but a few sections are analytical. On page 99, I'm fully in analytical mode; I'm exploring the possibility that members of a radical news agency called Liberation News Service (LNS) might have, on a very few occasions, consciously tried to advance the New Left's aspirations by putting across "strategic myths" -- stories that they knew were not fully accurate, but that retain a kind of “impressionistic honesty.” Again, I don't think this happened often. Most of the time, underground journalists put across the "facts" as they knew them, and then interpreted those facts from a radical perspective. But in a few instances, I think their sense of theater, and their sense of self-righteousness, may have caused them to behave like fabulists.