16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2006
As someone who grew up in the '60's I have vivid memories of that time to do with fashion, music, lifestyle and even politics. I always had the sense of having missed the party. This book describes the subversive counter-culture of the '60's as it evolved throughout the decade, reading like diary of the times, with current and retropsective commentaries from the leading figures, both famous and less well-known. Importantly, the book covers the hard work that went on behind the beautiful emphemera, the music, the parties, the demonstrations and the events and touches on the genuine dreams that drove people on. Beautifully illustrated, it captures some of the feel of the period and leaves a sense of nostalgia for the strong feelings of comunity, power and change that people experienced. Without offering any direct anyalysis of the impact that the 'hippie' movement had it does give a sense of how much we owe to those hedonistic and naive times and how far those dreams fell short of the realities. If you're in love with the '60's then you'll love the book, though those interested in a deeper analysis will have to find it in less accessible texts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2011
This is a great coffee table book, filled with wonderful photographs and art work from the period, but also contains a surprising amount of text.
"Hippie" covers the counterculture movement from 1965 to 1971, spending a lot of time in San Francisco where the hippies dominated, but also visiting the equivalent scenes in Los Angeles, New York and London. The book is very much about the culture of the period in terms of music, fashion and lifestyle choices, with the political aspects not being covered as in depth here as elsewhere.
The author is in a good position to write about this era as he was the founder of the Indica bookshop which was at the forefront the London scene. He actually pops up in the book once or twice, where he refers to himself in the third person, which seemed a bit odd. Despite his connections, this book is far being a rose-tinted trip down memory lane with a description of the later Haight-Ashbury scene being particularly disturbing. He is also very realistic about the limitations of the hippie ideals, how short-lived its heyday was and about its long-term impact.
"Hippie" is very much an overview of the movement and at times I would have liked more detail, but it provides a good introduction to the subject. It is also a book that can be dipped into and returned to again on account of the great pictures.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I grew up in this era. This seems less of a history book and more of a guidebook. It illustrates those times and explores the thoughts, aims and dreams of that short-lived time. Several times I found myself saying "I met him/her once" or "I had that poster". That period of the late 60s and very early 70s set a lot of what people take for granted now in motion, although with hindsight some of it went very sour.
For anyone who was there this is a sublime book; for those who were born too late a glimpse into why some of us still smile at small bells, and I guess if you want to find out what went on - especially in Britain this is a good primer.
Loved it, and the icing on the cake was finding long-lost friend Theo's picture near the back. :-)
on 26 June 2011
This is the soft-cover version of what was originally a big coffee-table book . As I haven't seen the hard-cover , I don't know whether the soft-cover includes all the illustrations of the original or just a selection . Even so , it is still profusely illustrated in both colour and black and white .
The emphasis is on the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and in Swinging London , although the French student riots of 1968 are given some space .
The first chapter provides an overview of the decade , with each subsequent chapter devoted to a single year from 1965-71 .The earlier years are covered in greater depth than the later as this coincides with the author's view that the hippie era peaked in '66 and was in steep decline from '67 onward . The last chapter , on the legacy of the sixties , is the weakest . It consists mainly of a brief account of Woodstock anniversary concerts , and ends with the endearingly naive comment about young people having the power to save the planet , a sentiment that might have come itself from the sixties !
There were a couple of minor errors about the band Jefferson Airplane , and a puzzling reference to people turning EAST to see the sun set over the Pacific , which might be a misprint . Leaving that aside , this is a great book which anyone interested in the sixties will enjoy . I'm only sorry that I never bought the hard-back instead .
on 19 November 2013
Firstly, full marks to the author for avoiding the mistake of so many books about 'The Sixties' ie lazily lumping together the early and latter parts of that decade when in fact they were vastly different times. Miles correctly identifies the counter culture era as lasting from 1965-1971 with 1966-67 being its peak, before Haight-Ashbury became a tourist attraction and the hippie movement slid into mainstream self-parody.
I like the book's format - a series of short essays which makes it more readable than one long, rambling text, and i think that the choice and reproduction quality of the photos is first class. How refreshing to see full page colour pictures of obscure bands like Tomorrow and Soft Machine rather than yet another Beatles/Stones retread.
Anyone who was around back then will love this book for being such a vivid reminder of those times, while anyone who wasn't will probably wish they had been.