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Gates of Eden [Kindle Edition]

Charles Degelman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 291 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Silver Medalist, Historical Fiction, 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards

Gates of Eden tells the story of seven young rebels who unite with their compatriots to build the most powerful antiwar movement in American history. Set against the turmoil of the Vietnam Era, Gates' charismatic characters transform "hell no, we won't go" into a fierce celebration of collective action, shared passions, and the pursuit of their own deeply personal dreams.

Praise for Gates of Eden...

Gates of Eden is no sentimental apologia for the Sixties. It's the real deal. Charlie Degelman was there, living his life for keeps, moving at the same breakneck pace as his characters. I know. I was there with him. -- Peter Coyote, actor, author, Sleeping Where I Fall

Degelman's boisterous characters take us on a freewheeling ride through the Vietnam antiwar movement. Gates of Eden resonates as a new generation embarks on its own journey of resistance and rebellion. -- Eric Watson, writer, filmmaker, Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain

Gates of Eden is an important novel. Excellently written and profoundly moving, Degelman explores the tangled relations of a country at war -- not only in Southeast Asia but at home, with itself." -- Sharon Dilworth, author, Year of the Ginko

Editorial Reviews


Gates of Eden captures the Vietnam Era's war at home through the passionate drives and personal commitments of author Degelman's very real characters, alive in a world where danger, ingenuity, sex and drugs are a part of life, not a Hollywood fantasy. A wonderful, gutsy, uncompromising read. Buy it! - S.Weinstein, NotAnotherBookReview

Set amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War at home, seven rebels unite with others dissatisfied with the government and begin to plot against it, daring to go as far as rebellion. With a personal story among each of them, Gates of Eden is a fine novel of the period, very much recommended. -- Midwest Book Review

Epic chapters in American history often inspire fiction. One of the latest epic entries is Gates of Eden, set in the 1960s by theater artist and political activist Charles Degelman. The anti-war movement is the canvass for his story, and - while his novel is not autobiographical - the author knows his subject well. - Danny Feingold, Frying Pan News

Product Details

  • File Size: 505 KB
  • Print Length: 291 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Harvard Square Editions (July 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008MHBZQ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,782 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs, and Politics August 31, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Last week I finished reading "Gates of Eden" by Charles Degelman, a historical novel set in the U.S. in the sixties. At first, upon hearing of the book's imminent release, I thought we did not need another account of this decade.

We did, and this is it.

The story is distinguished by the interaction of romance, or at least sex, and politics.

We were then reacting against the principle of property, which we saw at the root of so much that was wrong with the larger American society. Possessiveness in general was deprecated.

So we tried to share everything, including each other. The logical outcome was communes and "free love", and that's what we did. (An example of "silver bullet" thinking, a common American foible.)

Meanwhile, the Vietnam war machine was chewing through our youth, and our conscience. We could respond with nothing but rage. The oppression of Blacks in the South was another major violence demanding a response from those who were free of it. SDS and SNCC did respond, and some were killed in action.

Both of these stories, of 60s sex and 60s protests, have been well covered, but "Gates of Eden" shows how they wove together to produce a most volatile mix.

Remembering the decade, I am grateful for this account of it. No one else has come so close to bringing it all back home.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel whose time has come September 12, 2012
By Laurie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many books analyze and appraise the 1960's, but few capture what they were really like to live in. Charles Degelman's Gates of Eden fills this gap. It follows the overlapping stories of five young adults, as they face the freedoms, challenges and angers of that time. With them, the reader experiences voter registration drives in the rural south, daily life in SDS and FBI offices, demonstrations in Chicago, and even a visit to Hanoi. The characters are each carefully drawn, enabling the reader to both care about them and to understand their internal logic and differing choices as they respond to escalating disappointments with American society and the federal government. Choices that may seem naive or misguided in retrospect, make deep sense in their own time, and can only be really understood by jumping into a time machine. This novel is that machine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary procedural September 3, 2012
I'll say the good things I have to say about this book with little art and less cant: "Gates of Eden" kicks ass. Having lived through the time in which it's set, though providentially not, like the author, near the center of the action, I find this account as hair-raisingly fraught as I always imagined the real thing to be -- which is why I was careful not to be there.

Degelman's novel follows the evolution of a handful of young, very engaging characters through the social upheaval of the 1960s. It rings powerfully of the truth underlying the headlines of that period, when Americans at home came to blows over war and civil rights, and something called the sexual revolution played havoc with the generations' expectations of themselves and each other. "Gates of Eden" lets you share the excitement of those days without the attendant risk of having your head busted open by nervous agents of the status quo.

But for readers so inclined, that opportunity is not lost. History does repeat itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time machine to another era August 29, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love how GATES OF EDEN is written - the way you get to know the characters and they start to feel like people you actually do know and have spent intense actual hours with, you are not just reading about them. I enjoy the lyricism of the fictional aspects but also the authenticity of non fiction...for me its especially potent since a lot of the events or circumstances I dimly remember as a child and teenager and it's like filling in the colors in a book that's been black and white for me for awhile.. esp the blowing up of the townhouse...which was a vivid memory of mine on the threshold of adulthood. Also quite sexy...and wryly humorous xx Been reading it in drips and drabs (the segments can work that way) thru the summer but want to find time to really sit with it under a tree and do the whole thing again in one fell a wonderful rich meal. Thanks for the journey!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing view into our collective past October 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend Charles Degelman's book, "The Gates of Eden", especially if you lived through the "sturm und drang" of the sixties' in this country - or are curious about the times. The book gives you a real inside feel for the complexities of the politics and culture of the period, from the civil rights struggles in the south to the turbulent anti-war movement.

For me personally, it was a trip of nostalgia and sadness, reflecting my own conflicted feelings and reactions at the time. It also helped that some of the background was personally familiar to me, having grown up in New England but come to political "maturity" (?) in Northern California.

Pick this one up - you will not be disappointed...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I remember the 60's August 27, 2012
If you remember the 60's and still can't figure out what happened, this is the book to read. Charlie captures the dynamics of the anti-war movement in a strong personal narrative, appealing even to "I hate the 60's" types like me. Gate of Eden stays with the themes, characters in a way that breaks the fog of memory. Not as personally edgy as Martin Oppenheimer's "Urban Guerrilla" , Gates of Eden offers up a cold hard personal look at a movement that resonates with boomers and OWS alike. So many of us forget the details, that once we were young, and once upon a time there really were dreams.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Read - Superbly Written
Mr. Degelman has written about "the most powerful antiwar movement in American history" with the full effect only someone who witnessed the rebellion to the Vietnam War can... Read more
Published 16 months ago by HMM
5.0 out of 5 stars vivid history
it was great to find assembled a bunch of facts i had heard of before, put into perspective. it's an important piece of history brought to life; not only the external circumstances... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Slide
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Book About the 60's
The plot flowed consistently and I found myself attached to the characters. I'm not a baby boomer so it was interesting to learn about the events that occurred during this time... Read more
Published on January 11, 2013 by Whitney
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringin' it all back home...
I was there for the Summer of Love, there for the chanting of "Make love not war". I was a part of the movement for civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, and an end to the Viet... Read more
Published on December 20, 2012 by Courtney E. Tallman
5.0 out of 5 stars Grokking the Sixties
Gates of Eden is, on one hand, an ode to the idealism and hope of the youth of the sixties and, on the other, a chronicle of their erosion as they splatter against the brick wall... Read more
Published on November 9, 2012 by Delin Colon
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the '60's
Anyone who "came of age" in the 60's (or is just interested in that era) should read "Gates of Eden" by Charles Degelman. Read more
Published on November 3, 2012 by SuShMe
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book
Read Gates of Eden by Charles Degelman. Why? First it is a well-written book that is a very enjoyable read. Read more
Published on October 29, 2012 by Alan F.
5.0 out of 5 stars This IS how it happened!
At last, an Epic that chronicles the lives of seven children born after WW II and how each one of them--for their own reasons--struggled with the hypocrisy and chaos of the Vietnam... Read more
Published on October 26, 2012 by Ernest Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful and well-written journey through the Sixties
Like Charles Degelman's characters, I was there for a thousand or so Sixties demonstrations and personal/political changes, and I can tell you, this novel feels very real. Read more
Published on October 12, 2012 by Paula
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book about the revolutionary 60s that ends with a message...
This story about the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s in the USA has the kind of writing that attached me to it with velvet chains. Read more
Published on October 9, 2012 by Susan Koppelman
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More About the Author

Charles Degelman is a writer, editor, and educator living in Los Angeles.

Gates of Eden, a '60s novel of resistance, rebellion, and love, garnered a silver medal from the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Published by Harvard Square Editions, 2012.

A Bowl Full of Nails, set in the counterculture of the 1970s, collected a Bronze Medal from the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Awards and was a finalist in the Bellwether Competition, sponsored by Barbara Kingsolver. Published by Harvard Square Editions, 2015.

Impressions of two trips to Cuba have been published in Cuba by Travelers Tales. Excerpts from his anthology, American Postcards, narrative snapshots of growing up absurd in the 1950s appear in Above Ground, an anthology of international fiction.

In 2010, Degelman edited A Voice From the Planet, a globe-trotting anthology of short fiction, published by Harvard Square Editions.

His first screenplay, "Fifty-Second Street," garnered an award from the Diane Thomas Competition, sponsored by Amblin Entertainment and the UCLA Writers Program. "No Deposit, No Return," a reinhabitory thriller, is wandering the labyrinths of Hollywood.

His latest screenplay, "The Red Car," was a finalist in the American Zoetrope competition, sponsored by Francis Ford Coppola.

He currently teaches writing and media studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

Facts of Life...

After graduating Harvard, Degelman left academia to become an antiwar activist, political theater artist, musician, communard, carpenter, hard-rock miner, and itinerant gypsy trucker.

When the dust settled, Degelman returned to his first love, writing. In the 1990s he was swept up by the film world and the burgeoning digital industry where he wrote and produced documentary and educational films for TNT, Churchill Films, Pyramid Films, Philips Interactive Media, and others. Titles include a feature-length biography of filmmaker John Huston for TNT and an award-winning biography of Mozart for Philips Interactive.

A longtime theater artist, Degelman co-founded Indecent Exposure, a Los Angeles-based theater company dedicated to creating original, high-quality, socially relevant work for the stage.

He polished his craft as writer and editor on staff at Constitutional Rights Foundation, a civic-education organization, while he produced original work for the stage and wrote fiction, screenplays, and political commentary.


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