San Francisco Books




The Caravan by Stephen Gaskin * The Caravan five stars
The true story of Stephen Gaskin and the colorful caravan of buses that left San Francisco and crossed the country to settle in Tennessee where to this day they continue to operate 'The Farm, one of the most successful and longest lasting communes in the United States. Recently reprinted after being out of print for 25 years.
"We hold as a common belief that our outward works and goals should be seamless with how we choose to live--and we choose to live in community with one another...Stephen Gaskin"

America's Communal Utopias* America's Communal Utopias by Donald E. Pitzer five stars
Public and scholarly interest in communal utopias increased dramatically in the decades after the sunburst of communes founded by the youth movement of the 1960s. The creation of thousands of communal havens to escape the Establishment and to build Utopia raised pressing questions about the benefits and dangers of living communally. Most of these could be answered best by an examination of the historical record. Therefore, historians and scholars from a wider variety of other academic disciplines than ever before attracted to the study of utopian communalism. These students of communalism have enjoyed greater access to historical documentation and to information
from practicing communitarians than any previous generation of researchers. They have used these advantages to produce new analyses of the many forms, purposes, and results of communal usage from ancient times to the present. an excerpt from the Preface of this book.

New Buffalo* New Buffalo: Journals from a Taos Commune (Counterculture Series)
by Arthur Kopecky, Peter Coyote (Foreword), David Farber , Beth Bailey
"Kopecky finds that ideas of intentional communities, eco-villages and people working together to create a safety net is more appealing han ever in today's world of too much traffic, too much worrying about downsizing and out-sourcing, and a conspicuous absence of joy and optimism. This is his testament to how it can work." ~ Sonoma Index Tribune

60's Commune * Commune DVD
Featuring actor Peter Coyote, herbalist Michael Tierra ("The Way of Herbs"), and Chinese medicine pioneers Efrem Korngold and Harriet Beinfield ("Between Heaven & Earth") this acclaimed documentary offers a candid look into the joys and difficulties of free love, nude farming, survival in the wilderness, multiple-parent childrearing and other fascinating aspects of communal living.

WINSTANLEY* Milestone Film presents: Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’
Winstanley DVD(1975) (blk/white)
Actors: Miles Halliwell,J erome Willis, Terry Higgins, Phil Oliver, David Bramley
April 1, 1649. St. George’s Hill. Surrey, England. A Reformation-era religious sect called the Diggers sets out to form a commune and till the soil on “common land,” which by law permits grazing — but not settlement and cultivation. Led by Gerard Winstanley, theirs is a nonviolent action to reclaim land for the poor who had been dispossessed by Oliver Cromwell’s recent Civil War. But the local villagers see the Diggers’ “occupation” as a threat to their livelihood and led by the Presbyterian parson, John Platt, take action to harass and burn them out.
Based firmly on historical fact. Gerrard Winstanley’s pamphlets, sections of which act as a diary for the year that the settlement survived, have been collected together with a detailed and superb introduction by Christopher Hill under the title, “Winstanley: The Law of Freedom”(Pelican Classics).
DVD Release: February 15, 2000

Law of Freedom and Other WritingsLaw of Freedom and Other Writings (Pelican classics)
Paperback – October 25, 1973
by Gerrard Winstanley, Christopher Hill (Editor)
Originally published 1452
In which Winstanley proposed the introduction
of his utopian commonwealth by state action.

Gerrard Winstanley began True Levellers, a Christian group devoted to egalitarian and communal living that formed in the wake of the English civil war. They became known as the Diggers, and are often considered precursors of socialists or communists.

Free Spirits - The Birth, Life, and Loss of a New Age DreamFive Stars
"Free Spirits - The Birth, Life, and Loss of a New Age Dream"

DVD, written, directed, and coproduced by Bruce Geisler.
This documentary is the story of the "The Brotherhood of the Spirit" commune, later renamed the 'Renaissance Community', which was one of the largest communes in the eastern United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Web Links

The Farm

Third Planet Report from The Farm
by hippie lawyer Alan Graf

History of Brook Farm

Twin Oaks Intentional Community

Quarry Hill Creative Center

Brotherhood of the Co-operative Commonwealth

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

Ecology Hall of Fame

Middle-Class Communes
from TIME

Online Communities Directory:
a searchable online directory of intentional communities from
North America and around the
world provided by the FIC

Intentional Communites

* Auroville
* Arcosanti
a primary resource for information, issues, and ideas about intentional communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland


* Global Ecovillage Network
a global association of people and communities (ecovillages) dedicated to living "sustainable plus" lives by restoring the land
and adding more to the
environment than is taken.

Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cooperative culture.

* ZEGG (community)
ZEGG - Center for Experimental Cultural Design) is an ecovillage located on 15 acres (61,000 m²)
in Belzig near Berlin, Germany.

Kenneth Rexroth's chapter in Communalism

History of the Paris Commune
of 1871
(Trans. from the French)

Findhorn RecollectionsFindhorn Reflections
The Findhorn Foundation and Community has been famous since the 1970s for its unique spiritual beliefs and practices, such as co-creation with the intelligence of nature, work is love in action, openhearted relationships and consciousness. The book is both a ‘love letter’ and a critique – a reflective insider’s perspective on a fascinating social experiment.

* Communal Organization and Social Transition: A Case Study from the Counterculture of the Sixties and Seventies
by Barry Laffan
In June of 1968 I was hired by Fred Davis, then of the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, to assist him in a study of hippies in the San Francisco Bay area. My specific task was to uncover the location of as many hippie communes as I could and to obtain a wide variety of pertinent data about their com- munal life, ranging from the ways members addressed one another (did they use terms like "brother" and "sister"?) to how they earned a living. For three or four months I searched around for leads and followed them through. I stayed at the Free Church in Berkeley and wandered about in the Haight-Ashbury. I read the underground papers looking for references to communes. I sought the names of other communes from people in the communes I visited, and from hitchhikers I picked up. By October of 1968 I had visited and interviewed people at about sixteen communes...from the book

* Back To Eden  
Four Stars by Jethro Kloss
The classic guide to herbal medicine,
natural foods and home remedies

Builders of the Dawn * Builders of the Dawn: Community Lifestyle in a Changing World
by Corinne McLaughlin, Gordon Davidson
One of the best guides about how to create intentional community, drawing on the experience of many projects around the world

Back from the Land * Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s, and Why They Came Back
More than a million would-be homesteaders abandoned soulless cities and tried to make a go of it on small acreages during the 1970s, according to Jeff Jacobs in New Pioneers. They chopped wood and carried water, raised goats and kids. It was usually good at first, as their lungs filled with fresh country air, but before long the backbreaking drudgery took its toll. One by one, Morningstar, Drop City, and Middlearth were shuttered. One by one, the homesteaders returned to the professional lives for which their middle-class upbringings had prepared them.
Eleanor Agnew, who now teaches at Georgia Southern University, lived this story, homesteading 62 acres in Troy, Maine, with her husband and kids. She understands these well-meaning people, and never patronizes them—even when they’re trying to force frozen clothes through an old-fashioned wringer washer.
Her own charmingly told story weaves in and out of many others, following a similar trajectory that led eventually to saying goodbye to all of that. “It gets kind of old to be poor when you have kids,” comments Pam Read Hanna, just one of many vivid characters. For Jim Carlson, the last straw was seeing his pickup truck frozen solidly in the rural Arkansas ground. “I’m just tired of everythingbeing a big job,” he sighed. Now, like Agnew, he teaches college in Georgia. ~ Jim Motavalli

Countercultural Communes* Countercultural Communes: A Sociological Perspective (Contributions in Sociology) by Gilbert Zicklin; Greenwood Press, 1983
The sample of twenty-odd communes including the group of five that are explored in some depth obviously cannot stand for the thousands or so communes that were estimated to have existed during the sixties and early seventies. In the group two communes, Satna and Total Loss Farm, had each lasted for several years, which seems intuitively to be a larger proportion of enduring communes than exists for the communal population as a whole.

Creating a Life Together* Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leafe Christian ~ first nail, they must buy this essential book: it will improve their chances for success immensely, and will certainly save them money, time, and heartbreak. In her friendly but firm (and occasionally funny) way, Diana Christian proffers an astonishing wealth of practical information and sensible, field-tested advice.”— Ernest Callenbach, author, Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging

Drop City by John Curly* Memories of Drop City: The first hippie commune of the 1960's and the Summer of Love by John Curl
John Curl lived in the underground communities that shaped the emerging counterculture in New York, the Bay Area, and the Southwest in the 1960s.

Author of eight volumes of poetry, including Scorched Birth and Columbus in the Bay of Pigs, a history of cooperation, Worker Cooperatives or Wage Slavery, and translations of classical Native American poetry, Ancient American Poets, he is a custom woodworker and community activist in Berkeley.

reviews: "With this compelling evocation and portrayal of breathing people, John Curl unpacks the boxed lunch myth of America's alternative lifestyle Sixties, and restores the day to day flavor of a deeply fabled era still key to understanding the way we live (and don't live) now."
...Al Young, poet laureate of California

'Memories of Drop City is an extraordinary book which brings the Sixties back to life in vivid detail and conveys the spirit of the Sixties better than almost anything else I've read. ...Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe

"Memories of Drop City brings vibrantly to light the flower children who returned to the land seeking peace and by that act were committing revolution. John Curl captures the idealism of a generation and their demonstrations against war in a revolution with a smile.." ...Floyd Salas, author of Tattoo the Wicked Cross

Lost And Found * Lost and Found: My Life in a Group Marriage Commune (CounterCulture series) by Margaret Hollenbach
"In "Lost and Found," critical intelligence and vivid story-telling achieve a fine balance. With disarming honesty and grace, Hollenbach not only charts a personal journey toward self-acceptance, but also re-creates the gritty, complex reality behind the 60s generation, whose search for transformation turned the American dream inside out."--Molly Best Tinsley, author of "Throwing Knives"(winner, Oregon Book Award, 2001)

* Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture
by Roberta Price
At once comic, poignant, and above all honest, "Huerfano" recaptures the sense of affirmation and experimentation that fueled the counterculture without lapsing into nostalgic sentimentality on the one hand or cynicism on the other.

The Good Life * The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living
In 1932, as he approached 50, Scott Nearing abandoned the city for country living. He and Helen Nearing inspired thousands of visitors to their Forest Farm in Vermont and Maine. That inspiration continued through their books and
the Good Life Center, which still hosts events and welcomes visitors. The Nearings stimulated a back-to-the-land movement that they embodied for 50 years, until Scott's death at the age of 100 in l983.

"Do the best that you can, wherever you are, and be kind."~ Scott Nearing
Oviously The Good Life worked for him and his wife.

Modern American Communes * Modern American Communes: A Dictionary
by Robert P. Sutton
This reference source contains biographies and historical overviews of 20th-century communes and utopias in the United States and those individuals involved with them. Sutton provides a comprehensive history of both religious and secular utopian communities. Entries include Amity Colony, Farm Eco-Village, Holy City, David Koresh, Shaker Communities, The Farm, and Donald Walters, among many others.

No Heavenly Decision* No Heavenly Delusion?: A Comparative Study of Three Communal Movements (Liverpool University Press - Liverpool Science Fiction Texts & Studies) by Michael Tyldesley, Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University
This is a well written informative book about the intellectual and practical differences between three early communes that started in pre-war Germany. It chronicles the differences between their philosophy as well as how they changed over the years due to individual intellectual processes and the historical processes of their times. All three movements live what could be termed a ‘common life’. However, they do not live the same type of common life.

Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie* Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie :
Tribal Tales from the Heart of a Cultural Revolution
by Iris Keltz, Ed Sanders (Introduction)
The '60s--the music, the clothes, the political and sexual idealism, the experimentation with drugs, the hunger for peace, creativity, and sharing--were a watershed in the way America sees itself. Hippie culture was at the very zenith of that watershed, and Taos was its beating heart, a Mecca that beckonedyoung pilgrims from all over the country. Iris Keltz was one of those pilgrims who came to Taos in the '60s. She stayed to become a folk historian of the tribe.

Free Land Free Love

* Free Land, Free Love: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
by Don Monkerud, Susan Keese, Malcolm Terence (Editors) The power of Free Land, Free Love is in the very personal voices, weaving a portrait of experiences in communal living at Black Bear Ranch.
Out of Print. Available Used & new

Cows Arw Freaky * Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers
by David Ohle, Roger Martin, Brosseau (Editor)
The seeds of this book were planted in the late '80s, when Lawrence, Kansas-based author David Ohle began compiling oral tales of local counterculture. The other member of the Lawrence literati, William Burroughs, penned the book's foreword. Out of print. Available used & new available

Survival of a Counterculture* The Survival of a Counterculture: Ideological Work and Everyday Life Among Rural Communards
by Bennett M. Berger University of California Press, 1981
The Ranch occupies 140 acres of meadow, orchard, and canyoned forest of redwood, fir, pine, alder, laurel, and madrone, somewhere in rural California. The land was bought in the 1960s by two affluent dropouts, wealthy enough to afford the $50,000 price. Along with some friends and acquaintances, they moved in and attempted to make a commune. That was in 1968, when the streets of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury had begun to turn mean, and the counterculture was already beginning to go desperate, violent, apocalyptic. Twelve years later The Ranch is still there, surviving, a very long time by the standards of post-hippie communes without formal religious organization. Most informed guesses by students of communes estimate the modal duration of "hippie" communes (i.e., those without formal creeds or religions or reliable sources of stable income) as from one to two years.The Ranch is not the kind of commune that is easily accessible or open to anyone who wants to crash--as, for example, Morningstar Ranch was, a place whose very openness and accessibility brought it widespread publicity (and disaster). ~ ~ an excerpt from Chapter one.

sixties communes
* The 60's Communes: Hippies and Beyond (Peace and Conflict Resolution) by Timothy Miller
If you've ever lived on a commune or if you're interested in studying intentional communities from roughly 1967 to 1975, this book is a page turner. 5 star rating

The Communal Experience* The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Communities in Twentieth Century America (Phoenix Book)by Laurence R. Veysey
Of the modern schools that were founded in the United States, the longest-lived was the one that started in New York City in 1910. after being shut down, it moved to a newly formed utopian colony of Stelton in New Jersey in 1915, both of which lasted until 1953. This school was involved with numerous other experimental ideas, including modern art, and benefitted from the talents of many well-known people: not just anarchists like Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, but many distinguished artists, writers, and thinkers like Will and Ariel Durant, Mike Gold, Robert Henri, Rockwell Kent, Eugene O'Neill, and Margaret Sanger.

Dynamic Utopia * Dynamic Utopia: Establishing Intentional Communities as a New Social Movement
by Robert C. Schehr, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
In America, two predominant paradigms constitute much of contemporary theoretical analyses of social movements, although variations permeate each. They either stress the instability constitutive of collective behavior and the subsequent collapse of consensus, or they prioritize the mobilization of organizational, symbolic, and capital resources in the struggle for state-based political representation and acknowledgment. Neither, I will argue,is able to effectively elucidate the complex interrelation between contemporary movement actors seeking wholistic transformations in their relationship to each other, society, the environment, and themselves. Unlike their American colleagues, European authors, particularly those writing in the aftermath of the "May Movement" in France, and similar student and worker uprisings in Germany and Italy during the middle and late 1960s, did seek articulation of social movement organizations and actors that contextualized movement activities as a component of postindustrial transformations largely characteristic of Western industrialized nations. According to authors rendering evaluations of these new social movements ( NSM), structural malaise had produced a crisis in meaning for an entire generation of young people who, in rejecting the value structures of their parents, openly repudiated what they perceived to be the alienating components of capitalist production and consumption. Writers addressing NSMs have established a sophisticated and lucid alternative to American social move-ment theory.
~ an excerpt from the Introduction to the book.

Living on the Earth  * Living on the Earth: Celebrations, Storm Warnings, Formulas, Recipes, Rumors, and Country Dances Harvested by Alicia Bay Laurel.
This book retains the innocence, lyricism and whimsy of the original, enriched with current information on sustainable technology and protection of the environment. At once a practical manual of recipes and directions for creating from scratch all of life's basic amenities and some of its frivolities, an influential artist book with an instantly identifiable style, an insider's view of the Utopian commune movement of the early seventies, and a spiritually uplifting lifestyle book, Living On The Earth continues as a beloved addition to our bookshelves.

The Simple Life  * The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in American Culture Oxford University Press (1985)
by David E. Shi (Author)
An historical overview of the practice of voluntary simplicity in America – with detailed exploration of important spiritual and community dimensions in this practice.

Sleeping Where I Fall
* Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle by Peter Coyote
Movie actor Coyote's gritty and unsentimental memoir of the West Coast counterculture during the '60s and '70s
In this book he relives his fifteen-year ride through the heart of the counterculture - a journey that took him as the son of an East Coast stockbroker to the riotous life of political street theater and the self-imposed poverty of West Coast communal movements.

Towns of the Sandia Mountains* Towns of the Sandia Mountains (NM) (Images of America) Arcadia Publishing (Oct. 30, 2006) by Mike Smith
Mike Smith dove into the mountains' history when he was a curious 11.
When he was a 26-year-old man who had quit college to focus on writing, making his living as a freelance editor and at a skatepark called Exerplay in the East Mountains, he decided it waas theright time to get to work on this project about the history.In his six months on the project, Smith collected about 200 photographs from the late 1800s to around 1960 for this book about the area's rich history.
"This place has a history that's so worth telling," Smith said. "We've got multiple cultures, and they've all got amazing stories."
means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the red color of these mountains at sunset. The ancient people who lived there considered the mountains a sacred place. Many still do.

Turtle Island* Turtle Island (New Directions Books) by Gary Synder - The title comes from a Native American term for the continent of North America. These Pulitzer Prize (1975)-winning poems and essays all share a common vision: a rediscovery of North America and the ways by which we might become true natives of the land for the first time, to reclaim the organic and holistic environmental harmony that once held sway here. His poetic articulation of that vision is still very meaningful to us.

Shelter * Shelter by Lloyd Kahn, Bob Easton
First publihed in 1973, I remember seeing it a friends house and being enchanted by the creativity exhibited by the different cultures aroung the world. I was very happy when I say it was is available again so I could get my own copy. With over 1000 photos and illustrations and all the interesting information it contains, this book is a real value.

Voices from the Farm

* Voices from the Farm: Adventures in Community Living
Q: Why do it?
A: Since we first came here, we've had the satisfaction of realizing many of the dreams and aspirations with which we began. After more than two decades on this land, we appreciate even more the security of a tight - knit, compassionate, community environment. Our children have the freedom to explore the woods or go anywhere in our town in safety. The adults they interact with are honest and caring. We have very nurturing and healthful surroundings. No one has to carry the burden of his or her problems alone, or to bear the entire brunt of some catastrophe. ~ Stephen Gaskin

Leaving New Buffalo Commune* Leaving New Buffalo Commune (Counterculture Series) by Arthur Kopecky and Timothy Miller (2006)

* New Buffalo: Journals from a Taos Commune (Counterculture Series)
by Arthur Kopecky and Peter Coyote
(Mar 15, 2004)

The Seed of Love
* The Seed of Love: Chronicles of a Hippie Commune in Mexico, and the Lives of It's People During Tumultuous Times 1968-1970 by Reed Camacho Kinney
Author Kinney was a young man during the late sixties/early seventies.
Within the pages of this well-written book are his memories of living with Mexican hippies on a commune called Chestnuts. It is an engaging books that tells about the challenges as well as the many pleasures they shared living the dream of communal life in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico.
Available in paperback or as an Electronic Book from the publisher link above where you will also find a chapter preview.


Website created by S.F.Heart©1997 -   2024 all rights reserved.
All products and company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.