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Publisher's Summary

In his energetic, funny, and intelligent memoir, Peter Coyote relives his 15-year ride through the heart of the counterculture - a journey that took him from the quiet rooms of privilege as the son of an East Coast stockbroker to the riotous life of political street theater and the self-imposed poverty of the West Coast communal movement known as The Diggers.

With this innovative collective of artist-anarchists who had assumed as their task nothing less than the re-creation of the nation's political and social soul, Coyote and his companions soon became power players. In prose both graphic and unsentimental, Coyote reveals the corrosive side of love that was once called "free"; the anxieties and occasional terrors of late-night, drug-fueled visits of biker gangs looking to party; and his own quest for the next high. His road through revolution brought him to adulthood and to his major role as a political strategist: from radical communard to the chairman of the California Arts Council, from a street theater apprentice to a motion-picture star.

©1998 Peter Coyote (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great insight to the counterculture

This memoir weaves together a series of reflections, insights and narratives stemming from Coyote's memories and experiences of life during the counterculture revolution in America. Coyote's experiences are recalled with vigour and sentimentality as he reflects upon experiments with commune living, family life, the arts movement and his own personal journey are woven together artfully, producing a thoughtful and well considered narrative. This beautifully compiled memoir reflects upon many of the ideologies that were at the fore of the counterculture revolution.

While it can seem long-winded at times, and naivety seemingly presents itself with a startling air, it is worthwhile to stick these sections out, as Coyote's reflections of these past attitudes and ideologies are an integral part of his story.

A worthwhile read for anyone seeking to learn more about this era.

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  • Won
  • 22-01-2021

Beautifully and Honestly, Written and Performed

If you are after a book that simply and only glorifies the Counter Culture of the 1960s, this may not be for you. It appears to be written from the heart and with all the honesty that one person can own up to when putting pen to paper, about a life that is so far more than the man who acts on our screens. He talks with a lot of love but total honesty about the people he met and weaved in and out of his life. That is not in any way to say he rubbishes these people, he doesn't, he speaks honestly about himself and those people.

Peter Coyote is one of my favourite actors and it is why I sought out this book when I learned he had written and narrates his own memoir. While I was aware of some of the groups that he talks about in his life story (The San Francisco Mime Troop, The Diggers) I was not aware of his membership within the groups, nor of his communal life choices or in fact the Free Family.

He honestly describes in full detail, the lifestyle of the members of the Free Family, and their concepts and beliefs. All we are fed in this day and age are the historical documentaries of the time. Which is to say, we get the same very conservative point of view (as was fed to the public back in the day) and none of the reasons why the Counter Culture existed or what was being attempted to do. It was most certainly not simply about getting stoned 24/7 and listening to the Grateful Dead (although he does talk about both, knowing them and everyone else in the Haight Ashbury area where he lived).

It is apparent that the much of the values and choices that the Free Lifestyle tried to establish is whitewashed in political dogma of the likes of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, who in later years all but admitted to using the Counter Culture movement to make their own points and the media back then (and now) ignore the reality of what most of the Counter Culture was trying to achieve. But it is all presented in this book in quite a bit of detail.

This is not written in hindsight with rose tinted glasses about life in the 60s. This is written so well you can all but feel the occasional chaos that resulted in some of Coyote's life choices but you can also feel and breathe the simplicity of other areas of his life.

Its a great book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-05-2019

it was a great over view.

it was enjoyable, I was drawn by his perspective of the movement growing up. His narrative voice was easy listening.

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  • Ellen Fields
  • 12-04-2018

Informative, moving and ultimately inspiring

I grew up just a little too young to be a hippie in the Sixties, but old enough to want to be and to adopt the values they stood for. This first-hand account afforded me an intimate account of one persons experience of those timed and a reminder of the importance of those values. Thank you, Peter Coyote.

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  • KimToelke
  • 14-06-2018

one discriptive perspective

very entertaining. PC got some cojones recounting such a busy life. rock on. peace out

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  • GRANITE MAN
  • 10-04-2020

Nice voice

Peter Coyote’s voice is the reason I listened to this book -to find out more about this guy. Luckily about 3/4 of the way through, I leapt to the last 2 chapters. If you’re a child of the ‘60’s & ‘70’s drug scene you will most likely enjoy this book. Otherwise keep moving on!

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  • Mr Dangerous
  • 12-01-2020

Solid, but not great.

Coyote can write. and he's an excellent narrator. This reminded me a bit of Patti Smith's book. While i enjoyed it, it just didn't quite get to that next deeper level.

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  • Emanuele
  • 07-02-2021

An honest peek at the counterculture

I was looking for a chronicle of the 60s and communal living. I found much more in this inspiring and brutally honest piece. A tale of an extraordinary and bold life at the limits of culture, full of incredible insights from the most remote corners of the street.

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