The days are getting longer, the temperature is quietly climbing, and the birds in my neighborhood can barely contain their excitement: summertime is almost here! Maybe I'm alone in this, but something about summer's splendorous return always makes me want to travel back in time to the hippie heyday of the 1960s. However, unless my wildest dreams come true and an enchanted Volkswagen Bus really does show up to transport me through space and time, this list of thrilling counterculture memoirs will have to suffice.
In her notorious autobiography, legendary rock groupie Pamela Des Barres tells a truly unique and jubilant tale of coming of age in the '60s. Whether she's working as Frank Zappa's in-house nanny along with her all-female rock group, the GTOs, or waiting by the phone for Jimmy Page to call, Des Barres is always frank, funny, and down-to-earth.
Joan Didion's modern classic captures the spirit of the era in this series of essays about her experiences in 1960s California. Standouts include "Where the Kissing Never Stops", a scathing piece on Joan Baez's Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the explosive title essay about the collapse of the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco.
In 1969, Margaret Grundstein was a graduate student at Yale University, heartbroken and terrified by the events of that tumultuous decade. A year later, hoping to build a new, more harmonious world for themselves, Grundstein headed west with her husband and ten friends to start a commune in the backwoods of Oregon.
Journalist Michael Walker explores the myths and music of California's Laurel Canyon, fabled epicenter of the late '60s/early '70s folk rock scene. Fascinating firsthand tales abound, giving readers an intriguing peek at the personalities and homes of some of the most iconic American musicians of the past century.