If you weren't there, then this review is for you. The Whole Earth Catalog was not so much a catalog, as a service reviewing stuff, and ideas, and movements in the late sixties and early to mid seventies. You could not be a hippy without a copy of this book, or an environmentalist, or any number of things. But the real purpose the book had was to open the minds of the many to the most ragged edge of contemporary thought. For example:
Richard Buckminster Fuller- 'Bucky' Fuller was fairly obscure outside of the acolytes of the whole earth catalog. The same could be said of a hundred other big thinkers, from Paolo Soleri (arcology) to Gregory Bateson (crack in the cosmic egg)to Jerzy Grotowski to Allesandro Jodorowski. The WEC is the who's who in hip thinking.
Swiss Army Knives- I swear, the WEC put a swiss army knife in the pocket of every hippy on the planet. (some of us still carry them today) Synthesizers (if you are a synthesizer head, read Walter Carlos's essay about them. Garden Tools, hand operated winches, drywall screws and other tools too numerous to mention.
Nomadics- I had never even thought of the idea of being a portable lifestyle until the WEC. Now I am old and a homeowner, but I am still nomadic.
and so on. The WEC (of which this is a reprint) was followed by the LAST WHOLE EARTH CATALOG (that's the big seller) the Whole Earth Epilog, and the Millenium Catalog. The Point Foundation (who published the WEC) also published a magazine, originally called the Co-Evolution Quarterly (or CEQ) which then became the Whole Earth Software Review, and then The Whole Earth Review, and then just Whole Earth. They went out of print, finally in 2003--having brought us thousands of pages on every topic imaginable.Read more ›
This was a special issue of the Whole Earth Review to celebrate 30 years of change. It's amazing how much of the original material is still interesting and to realize how far ahead of the curve Steward Brand was. I found the real value in the new interviews with people who were the leaders in the 60's and 70's about what they think is important now. The two viewpoints, 30 years of maturity as it were, makes this more than just a trip to the past. If the WEC/WER didn't change your mind, you weren't paying attention.
If you were a sudent at the time of Still Nash and Young, Chicago Transit Autohority, "Jesus freaks" and protests against Vietnam war you must have bought the original version of this book. Full of facts, names, adresses, direct advice on sensitive subjects. It was our bible. This book is full of practical and inspiring solutions for free people like you and me.
A huge book physically and one in sales. Many people back then wanted to learn different ways to deal with things and situations, they would be horrified by the endless plastic bags laying all over the place today. This book was about solutions and it's day was long ago but the memories of looking at it and seeing what people thought were incredible . Anyone who wanted to make a statement back then had this book on their table , from actors to politicians. It was that huge, and the public loved it too. At least for the 6 years or so it was around.