From his family background in the world of Brooklyn's Jewish gangsters to his early years in a succession of boarding schools, and from the rough streets of New York City in the 1940s to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district in the 1960s, poet Morton Marcus tells the story of his growth from embattled youth to uneasy adulthood. Filled with a rogues gallery of colorful characters and numerous anecdotes, as well as descriptions of his unconventional travels in Greece, Australia, Tahiti, Croastia, and the Czech Reputlic, Striking through the Masks conjures up the last half of the twentieth century and the opening decade of the new millenium. White recounting his own struggle to find self-awareness and wisdom. Mrcus vividly describes his life and times through intimate portraits of notable people he has known. In vignette after vignette, he strikes through the public masks of President Richard Nixon, Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, composer Lou Harrison, sort story writer Raymond Carver, United States Poet Laureate Charles Simic, and many others to glimpse private moments that show tell-tale aspects of their personalities. Illustrated with over 100 photographs.