Salon founder David Talbot chronicles the cultural history of San Francisco and from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher from backwater city to thriving metropolis.
Late 1960s San Francisco faced an identity crisis: conservative Irish values clashed with the breed of homegrown liberalism that had begun to spread nationwide. Covering 15 fraught years (1967 1982), journalist Talbot (Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years) reveals a community so hell-bent on inclusion that it inadvertently embraced evil. Exhaustive research yields penetrating character studies: the Summer of Love unfolds as Janis Joplin rose in her feathery boa; Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl narrowly escaped drug-related arrest; and a sparkle-dusted transvestite named Hibiscus revived drag shows. Talbot incisively relates the atmosphere of service in the Haight, populated with intrepid lawyers who defended revolutionaries, open-minded physicians who treated local drug addicts, and liberal clergymen who embraced teen runaways. With the homecoming of Vietnam veterans and an influx of amphetamines, however, the music scene fades as the city faces an outbreak of violence. Into a revolution launched with the grandest intentions slips Charles Manson, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the bomb-wielding New World Liberation Front, and Jim Jones s Flavor Aid carnage. In a surprising ending, Talbot convincingly suggests that imperfect new mayor Dianne Feinstein resurrected the city s heart as it rallied around the 49ers. In exhilarating fashion, Talbot clears the rainbow mist and brings San Francisco into sharp focus.
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Loved this book
Recommend if you live or lived in SF
Season of the Witch
I'm born and raised San Franciscan. I lived through these times, I smiled about the Summer of Love and remembered the innocence, I cried again at the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk ( we were still reeling over the killings in Guyana and the People's Temple). The '49ers and The Catch that won the Super Bowl also made me cry ears of joy. When it came to the AIDS epidemic and the way my City responded I felt so much pride. We lost so mama you bright stars. Reading about Herb Caen and his love affair with The City took me back to my childhood and how my father read his column faithfully and instilled in me the joy of Herb Caen. The Chronicle died when Herb Caen died. This book captures my life in The City by The Bay and my own love affair with this beautiful and foggy City. Thank you.
Season of the Witch
I bought this book in both audio and iBook. This book has brought me happiness and understandings of those times. I was here for some of this history. I had to leave for some of this history my heart was too broken by the social upheavals that David Talbot writes about. This is a book of love. This is a book which brings understanding. We can not understand our current civilization without understanding the San Francisco written about in Season of the Witch. San Francisco made our acceptance of different social norms and directions possible today. Those changes happened during the time period written about in Season of the Witch. This book is like finding an ancient artifact. From this book, we did not have to live in San Francisco but we can find the decades when lightening struck and made us who we are today. This book is beautiful.