Kevin Mattson grew up in the suburban sprawl known as the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. It was here that he first experienced the “punk rock world” that fuelled his formative years. He played in bands, wrote for zines, and became politically active, helping to cofound the organization Positive Force. He now teaches American history at Ohio University and is the author of numerous books that explore the intersection between culture and politics, including Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century, What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?, and, most recently, We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America.
Interviews with Kevin Mattson
England's Dreaming, Revised Edition: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond
by Jon Savage
Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century
by Greil Marcus
Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (33 1/3)
by Michael Foley
We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women from the 1970s and 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene
by Stacy Russo
Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History
by John Patrick Diggins
Punk is more than just a musical genre. It is an ethos. Channelling one’s anger against the triteness of the culture industry’s offerings can be a spontaneous and creative act of resistance and rebellion. Moreover, as Kevin Mattson shows in this selection of books about punk in the 1980s in America, attending a rock concert by a band like the Dead Kennedys was a formative political experience for a generation of citizens, akin to attending a rally or a party convention. It was a spirit of constructive anarchy that can still channel the political anger of the alienated in the 21st century.