Ooligan Press

Ooligan is a not-for-profit general trade press that publishes books honoring the cultural and natural diversity of the Pacific Northwest.

The Portland Red Guide

Ooligan Press is proud to release the second edition of Michael Munk’s The Portland Red Guide. This definitive guidebook, which includes maps and walking tours, artfully explores Portland, Oregon’s rich heritage of radical social dissent. Taking the reader beyond the common history book, Munk tells stories that many have forgotten, and links them to physical sites within the city. People and organizations that fought for equality and justice against the abusive powers of their day are given new life in this revelatory title. The Portland Red Guide is both a guidebook and an informal history that will expand your perspective on the city and its past. The book is divided by physical and topical entries, loosely grouped into the following chronological periods:

Michael Munk

Michael Munk was born in Prague in 1934. He escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and came to Portland in 1939. He graduated from Hillside School, Lincoln High School, Reed College, and received an MA in political science from the University of Oregon. While a student, he worked as a casual longshoreman on the Portland docks, sold tickets at the Holladay Bowl’s summer concerts, and drove a truck during wheat harvests in the Paulouse. His political activity began in the 1950s, when he became a local opponent of nuclear testing as well as a promoter of a Portland concert by Paul Robeson. As vice president of the Young Democrats of Oregon in 1956, he failed to win their endorsement of US recognition of China, and had also failed to prevent the firing of a philosophy professor by Reed College in 1954. In 1959, he was ordered to leave Oregon by the federal government, whose domination of South Korea he witnessed as a member of the US Army.

After Michael’s military service, he was the national affairs editor of the leftist New York news weekly, the National Guardian. After receiving his PhD in politics from New York University, he taught political science for more than twenty–five years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Roosevelt University in Chicago, and Rutgers University, before returning to Portland.

Since his return, Michael has published on local radical history and culture in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, and Science & Society. His column, “Our Radical Past” was a monthly feature in the Portland Alliance for several years. Prior to The Portland Red Guide, his most recent articles include “John Reed: Political Provocateur” in Portland Monthly (September 2006) and “McCarthyism Laid to Rest?” in Reed Magazine (Spring 2006).

Michael Munk’s photo gallery for the 2nd edition of The Portland Red Guide can be viewed here.

Connect with Michael Munk online: via Facebook, on Twitter.


“I love this book! It has maps! It has pictures! It talks about how crazy and wonderful the history of Portland is. Whether it’s Emma Goldman, the pioneering feminist and anarchist, giving a lecture on lesbianism in 1915 at the Portland auditorium, two blocks away from my house, and getting arrested and hauled off to jail, to Woodie Guthrie living on SE 92nd in the summer of 1941 and writing all the songs for the Bonneville Power Administration, to the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war. It also talks about writers like John Reed, the Oregonian journalist who is buried in Red Square.”

Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini

“This revised second edition of The Portland Red Guide provides a treasure trove of information about the Rose City’s leftist radicals. Michael Munk’s useful volume offers a roadmap to local physical sites—buildings and places—associated with the city’s less-celebrated citizens. In pursuit of his lifelong passion, the author has compiled a truly remarkable account of the people and stories beyond Portland’s mainstream narratives.”

—William G. Robbins, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at Oregon State University, author of Hard Times in Paradise: Coos Bay, Oregon

“As someone who’s crazy about all the details of Portland’s history, this guide delivers. It’s refreshing to see history from the non-winning side and to get a fuller picture of this fascinating city I call home. And knowing the locations of where this history happened is definitely a bonus! There’s more to Portland’s history than just a coin toss.”

—Shawn Granton, Founder and Chief Instigator for Urban Adventure League, editor of The Zinester’s Guide to Portland

“The Portland Red Guide is subversive history at its best. In an inspired act of historical jujitsu, it deftly uses the archives of the Portland Police Department’s ‘Red Squad’ to preserve the memory of movements for social democracy that the police squad had sought to suppress. The book’s maps of local social movement…allow readers to not just remember what has passed, but to remember the legacies of the places we inhabit and of the lives we lead today.”

—Trevor Griffey, Project Coordinator for Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, co-editor of Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry

“Rich in new material.”

—Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize winning poet

“Just finished the book, much moved. Bargained for what I thought a unique, entertaining sites history. Got so much more—amazement, laughter, anger, tears, a deep-going sense and respect of so many, including the author. You give us a treasure, itself a monument to that legacy.”

—Roger Morris, author of Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician

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