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Radical Bookselling: The Story of a Store and the People Behind It

Radical Bookselling was published in August 2016, so it's not exactly a new release. For those of us here at the store, however, it's always topical. Every other day someone comes in reminiscing about visiting Moe's in the "old days"; they always have something to say about Moe. What they have to say usually involves his cigars, his music, or his boisterous personality. "I knew Moe" could be the unofficial store motto, with how often you hear it. And it seems nearly everyone did.

The East Bay Times calls him the "the most memorable by far" of the figures of Telegraph Avenue in the 60's and 70's.

Doris, the author of the book and the owner of the store, told me that she wrote it because she got tired of waiting for somebody else to do it. The impetus came when she was asked to give a talk for the Berkeley Historical Society: preparing for the talk (a history of Moe's) was a lot of work, and by the time she was finished with it the book had already begun.

The unexpected story within the biography of Moe, Doris says, is the story of his first wife and Doris's mother, Barbara. Despite the fact that Moe's had, in the words of Aaron Cometbus, "a macho vibe, an ever-present male energy", Doris says Barbara was the power behind the throne. She did the books, paid the bills, and ran the show behind the scenes. According to her, she was the one who made Moe into a successful businessman.

Whether you knew Moe or not, only Doris's book will show you Moe as she knew him. As his daughter, she ought to know.