Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

About the Authors

Richard G Munden

I have other business websites but they are about business. This is a place were I can give voice to issues that are unrelated to what I do for a living but important enough that they need to be raised. Although I am not an expert on any of the topics I bring up here, I do have over a half century of observation and thought to guide my opinions.

In October 2007, I was interviewed by Sean Murphy. He subsequently published the interview on his blog, under the title “Founder’s Story”.


Robert M Katzman

Updated  in 2018. I was 57 when I started writing this blog. Now I’m 68, have a grey beard, and five grandchildren. However, I still like the picture below from when I was 55, taken by my gorgeous wife, Joyce. She died on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017 after being together for 42 years. Her ashes were distributed in a beautiful waterfall in Iceland and the other half from the top of the storied mountain Israel called Masada. Now she is part of both parts of her identity and heritage. I sure miss her.

Curious people, why bother with one more blog?

Who am I to ask you to spend time with me and care about what I say?

Well, I’m not ordinary, and I’m not famous, either. A person self-employed at twelve, who left his very violent home at fourteen, and subsequently opened a newsstand at fifteen (in partnership with the esteemed co-writer of this blog), in 1965, began a kosher delicatessen at nineteen, then bought more newsstands until he opened a literary bookstore, at 25, in the politically and socially liberal Hyde Park neighborhood of the University of Chicago—is not a regular guy. I guess.

I’ve led a blue-collar existence in a mostly white-collar environment, like attending the world famous and highly respected University of Chicago Laboratory School as my high school from 1964 to 1968, while operating that newsstand seven days a week to pay for the school’s tuition. No dances, no normal high school social life of any kind, either, except I was on the school newspaper.

I learned to become a carpenter, build my own newsstands and bookshelves, endure the frequent viciousness of my major metropolitan newspaper truck-drivers, the greed of the local petty politicians and to contemplate the temptations of some lonely neighborhood wives. But not for too long.

The newsstands led to a four-year distribution war with America’s largest magazine distributor, a monopoly for seventy years that I successfully challenged in a legal and street-level conflict that ran from 1975 to 1980. But that time also included a divorce, a remarriage, the births of my first three children, sixteen-hour work days and a startling discovery that my increasing number of customers were desperate for a competitor to come about to free them from the oppression and arrogance of a competition-free supplier of an essential product they needed in their stores.

I came to understand that I wasn’t just fighting for myself, and my own ambitions. I realized the meaning of being a symbol to people powerless to change a situation they hated but could not combat on their own.

The hundreds of times I wanted to quit, to surrender, to get my life back and take the easier path of submission to a more powerful rival—well, the thousands of words of encouragement I received from my customers, people on the street who came to recognize the familiar logo of my Gulliver’s periodicals white trucks, the anti-establishment Chicago Reader which wrote a front page plus twelve more pages about the local brawl that made the public aware of the struggle in a way I never could and the sympathetic reporters from my local public television channel who kept up with the seemingly ridiculous David and Goliath struggle for the newsstands of Chicago–all that faith kept me going for one more day…one more week…one more month…and one more year until ultimately I won the fight. A struggle like that, for principal and not for money, can shape a man.

All this by thirty years of age.

Then came eventually bankruptcy as a delayed consequence of my battle against a vengeful adversary, the loss of my house and business by 1985, two years of unemployment, the loss of another house due to foreclosure in 2006, the discovery of Multiple Sclerosis in my wife, Joy, who subsequently lost her job of eleven years as a controller at a surgical center (and also half of our family income) about a year after we adopted a six-week-old child, a girl–Sarah–who was left at our home.

If we were being tested by…..well, whomever or whatever tests people’s resolve to maintain their sanity and keep their family together despite all that life can throw at them…I wish we knew how long it would be until we passed our “tests.”

Thirty-nine operations for me are also a part of my life, including three transplants stemming from cancer in my face at age 18. The opening and years later, the closing of one of America’s premier world-travel, foreign language books stores due to the invasion of the giant bookchains that killed all the little independent bookstores in our literate, sophisticated neighborhood.

The opening in 1990 of what was one of the last seven independent back-issue magazine stores in the United States which carried 100,000 periodicals back to 1576. It was a hobby of mine collecting historical newspapers since the Kennedy assassination. It evolved into much more than that, 55 years later. Again, the unexpected consequences of passion and determination.

As of now, my life revolves around the 2018 printing of my 5th & 6th non-fiction autobiographical books under my new imprint of dontgoquietlypress.com The first volume is titled A Savage Heart, and the Second volume is titled Fighting Words. Both are about 525 pages and will sell online for $29.95 + shipping. They cover the years 1950 to 1985, in great detail in 79 short stories and poetry/stories.

Many people have told me they found my previous books to be inspirational. The first four book sold over 6,000 copies and are now, evidently collectible on used book sites. I do have some remaining copies of each but they are not for sale, anymore.

I have been hired as as speaker to read my stories and poetry many times and I sell my current books when I do that, too.

Is my life like your life? Maybe not in its entirety, but parts of it most likely are. If you work with your hands, or out in the cold, if you have been fired, or sick or filled with hopelessness, and faced with seemingly insurmountable situations, then our lives certainly will coincide. If you’ve loved someone for forty years and them watched them dissolve under an unrelenting incurable illness, as I have loved my wife, then perhaps we are not strangers to each other.

Pain is universal. Your color, religion, health, education, ethnicity or economic position in my own country or any other one, cannot insulate you from sudden tragedies that can torpedo your safety and security overnight. A life stripped of a steady job and steady money can rip away all the illusions of who you are in a selfish society that worships gold and who controls it.

I write for all those people. People who care about other people, and not just their own families. People who want a better safer world to send their children out to explore. A world that is not poisoned because of money. A world where cowardly politicians will happily send your child off to be killed in a war that, when they were young, they ran away from. A world where a very few people preside over the fates of hundreds of millions of powerless people. My world. Your world.

Well, you’re not all that powerless, if you decide for yourself that you are not, and are willing to accept the consequences of standing up and resisting the cruel and selfish people that don’t fear you. I have found that resolve and determination are magnetic. One brave person draws another, and another, and another…enough brave people can become a political critical mass that cannot be ignored or stopped.

I have been one of those brave people, been crushed because of it, and have no regrets. Never. I may have no gold, but when I look into my mirror, I see no footprints on me. A man can be knocked down, but that is not in anyway the same thing as laying down, without a fight. I write for people like me. And for people like you.

Note from the Author:

Available to be hired to read my work and answer questions at:

Colleges, independent bookstores, religious organizations, Chicago historical societies or groups, English teachers who want a new voice in their class who was a witness to history, book clubs, high schools or museums. Anywhere in the Chicago/Milwaukee Metro area.  I have done this more than 100 times, and I always sign my books, when asked.  Everyone, positively everyone, asks.  I was amazed, at first, by that.  Now they are floating around the world on the internet used book sites. Very cool.

Individuals who wish to order my books can view the book covers and whatever else I put there at www.dontgoquietlypress.com 

Anyone can call me directly at (262) 752-3333, or email me at robertmkatzman@gmail.com