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About George Hurchalla
Winner of the 2021 Charlton Tebeau Award for best general interest book on Florida history. I am the grandson of one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century, trailblazing journalist, adventurer, and genius Jane Wood Reno, the son of the legendary Florida environmentalist and adventurer Maggy Hurchalla, and the nephew of former Attorney General Janet Reno. I write about subjects I am passionate about, stories about unrecognized or marginalized people or places. These have included Florida history, the do it yourself world of underground punk rock in the 1980's, and guide books. I spent a decade living in Oaxaca, Mexico from 2007-17 before returning to the United States to settle in San Antonio. I've followed in the adventure footsteps of my family, from the sawgrass of the Everglades to the mountains of California, from whitewater kayaking the Dominican Republic to surfing in Fiji, from building schools during the Nicaraguan revolution to living the Steinbeckian life of a fruit picker overseas.
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Books By George Hurchalla
A fearless writer in the Miami wilderness
Journalist, activist, and adventurer, Jane Wood Reno (1913–1992) was one of the most groundbreaking and colorful American women of the twentieth century. Told by her grandson, George Hurchalla, The Extraordinary Life of Jane Wood Reno is an intimate biography of a free thinker who shattered barriers during the explosive early years of Miami.
Easily recognizable today as the mother of former attorney general Janet Reno, Jane Wood Reno’s own life is less widely known. Born to a Georgia cracker family, Reno scored as a genius on an IQ test at the age of 11, earned a degree in physics during the Depression, worked as a social worker, explored the Everglades, wrestled alligators, helped pioneer scuba diving in Florida, interviewed Amelia Earhart, downed shots with Tennessee Williams, traveled the world, and raised four children. She built her own house by hand, funding the project with her writing.
Hurchalla uses letters he unearthed from the family homestead and delves into Miami newspaper archives to portray Reno’s sharp intelligence and determination. Reno wrote countless freelance articles under male names for the Miami Daily News until she became so indispensable that the paper was forced to take her on staff and let her publish under her own name. She exposed Miami’s black-market baby racket, revealed the abuse of children at the now infamous Dozier School for Boys, and supported the Miccosukee Indians in their historic land claim.
Reno’s life offers a view of the Roaring Twenties through the 1960s from the perspective of a swamp-stomping woman who rarely lived by the norms of society. Titan of a journalist, champion of the underdog, and self-directed bohemian, Jane Wood Reno was a mighty personality far ahead of her time.
The product of decades of work and multiple self-published editions, Going Underground, written by 1980s scene veteran George Hurchalla, is the most comprehensive look yet at America’s nationwide underground punk scene.
Despite the mainstream press declarations that “punk died with Sid Vicious” or that “punk was reborn with Nirvana,” author Hurchalla followed the DIY spirit of punk underground, where it not only survived but thrived nationally as a self-sustaining grassroots movement rooted in seedy clubs, rented fire halls, Xeroxed zines, and indie record shops.
Rather than dwell solely on well-documented scenes from Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC, Hurchalla delves deep into the counterculture, rooting out stories from Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, Cincinnati, Miami, and elsewhere. The author seamlessly mixes his personal experiences with the oral history of dozens of band members, promoters, artists, zinesters, and scenesters. Some of the countless bands covered include Articles of Faith, Big Boys, Necros, Hüsker Dü, Bad Brains, Government Issue, and Minutemen, as well as many of the essential zines of the time such as Big Takeover, Maximum RocknRoll, Flipside, and Forced Exposure.
Going Underground features over a hundred unique photos from Marie Kanger-Born of Chicago, Dixon Coulbourn of Austin, Brian Trudell of LA, Malcolm Riviera of DC, Justina Davies of New York, Ed Arnaud of Arizona, and many others, along with flyers from across the nation.