Bisbort, Alan 1953-
Bisbort, Alan 1953-
PERSONAL: Born 1953.
CAREER: Library of Congress, Washington, DC, writer, editor, researcher.
Kansas America (poetry), Chancey Town Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1977.
(With Parke Puterbaugh) Life Is a Beach: A Vacationer’s Guide to the East Coast, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Parke Puterbaugh) Life Is a Beach: A Vacationer’s Guide to the West Coast, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1988.
The White Rabbit and Other Delights: East Totem West, a Hippie Company, 1967-1969, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1996.
Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car: The Aberrant Art of Barry Kite, Pomegranate (Rohnert Park, CA), 1997.
(Author of captions, with Sarah Day) Edward S. Curtis, Heart of the Circle: Photographs of Native American Women, edited by Sarah Day, introduction by Pat Durkin, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1997.
(With Parke Puterbaugh) Groovy, Man: A Trip through the Psychedelic Years, introduction by Howard Kaylan, General Publishers (Los Angeles, CA), 1998.
Charles Bragg, the Works!: A Retrospective, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
(With Parke Puterbaugh) Rhino’s Psychedelic Trip, introduction by Howard Kaylan, Miller Freeman Books (San Francisco, CA), 2000.
(With Linda Barrett Osborne) The Nation’s Library: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Library of Congress/Scala Publishers (Washington, DC), 2000.
(Compiler) Famous Last Words: Apt Observations, Pleas, Curses, Benedictions, Sour Notes, Bon Mots, and Insights from People on the Brink of Departure, Pomegranate (San Francisco, CA), 2001.
“When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me”: The Life and Redemption of Caryl Chessman, Whose Execution Shook America, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Parke Puterbaugh) Moon Florida Beaches: The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay (“Foghorn Outdoors Florida Beaches” series), Avalon Travel Publishers (Emeryville, CA), 2006.
Also author, with Parke Puterbaugh, of other titles in the “Foghorn Outdoors Florida Beaches” series, including Foghorn Outdoors California Beaches, 3rd edition, Avalon Travel Publishers (Emeryville, CA). Author of blog Alan Bisbort’s Blog—The Smirking Chimp. Coauthor of annual “Literary Companions” series. Contributor to periodicals, including Advocate, Hit List, New York Times, Washington Post, and Rolling Stone.
SIDELIGHTS: A longtime researcher and writer at the Library of Congress, Alan Bisbort has written about cultural and countercultural affairs since the early 1970s. Often collaborating with his former college roommate, Parke Puterbaugh, Bisbort has also created numerous guides to the beaches of the United States, focusing on Florida and California. In the 1998 title Groovy, Man: A Trip through the Psychedelic Years, written with Puterbaugh, Bisbort presents a profile of the 1960s. The authors examine all aspects of the counterculture, from music to film, comics, fashion, and media. Illustrated with over two hundred photographs from the era, Groovy, Man“captures the decade of mind-blowing reform in social mores,” according to Library Journal reviewer Eric C. Shoaf.
Bisbort captures the feel of an earlier decade in his 2006 title, “When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me”: The Life and Redemption of Caryl Chessman, Whose Execution Shook America. Chessman, the so-called Los Angeles “Red-Light Bandit,” was convicted and sentenced to death in California in 1948 in a case that challenged the morality of the death penalty nationwide. Chessman, a career criminal who always denied his guilt, was convicted of robbing couples in parked cars and of raping some of the female victims. Kidnapping charges in association with these crimes were the tipping point for capital charges. Spending the next twelve years on Death Row, Chessman wrote about his own life and his transformation in prison, most notably in his memoir Cell 2455. By the time of his execution, Chessman had become the focus of the death penalty debate. Reviewing “When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me” in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Emily Schmall found the work “engaging,” and commended Bisbort’s writing. She noted that the author “neatly dichotomizes Chessman’s life as he moved from rebel to author—and from condemned to redeemed.” Further praise came from a Publishers Weekly contributor who observed: “Chessman’s story loses none of its haunting power, and Bisbort’s retelling reaffirms its significance in America’s quest for social justice.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, October 1, 2006, Vernon Ford, review of “When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me”: The Life and Redemption of Caryl Chessman, Whose Execution Shook America, p. 7.
Library Journal, September 15, 1998, Eric C. Shoaf, review of Groovy, Man: A Trip through the Psychedelic Years, p. 100; February 1, 2001, Thomas F. O’Connor, review of The Nation’s Library: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, p. 130.
Publishers Weekly, August 9, 1999, “Bragging Rights,” p. 249; August 7, 2006, review of “When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me,” p. 44.
San Diego Union-Tribune, October 22, 2006, Emily Schmall, review of “When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me.”
Foghorn Web site, http://www.foghorn.com/ (December 11, 2006), brief biography of Alan Bisbort.
Gadfly Online, http://www.gadflyonline.com/ (December 11, 2006), “Gadfly Contributors: Alan Bisbort.”*
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