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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Only I had Been There!, July 23, 2011
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San Francisco is an unforgettable city with a spirit, vibrance, and energy still there. In reading this book which is a collection of essays about life in the city from 1968 to 1978. The decades ends on the twin tragedies of Jonestown followed by the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and his openly gay supervisor Harvey Milk only 9 days later.

The end of the sixties opened the minds, eyes, and ears to a war in Vietnam met with criticism and doubt. The Berkeley campus of the University of California became a symbol of rebellion in a non-violent matter. They held protests against injustice and outrage with passions and convictions. Besides Vietnam, they were still plenty of protests and movements to correct injustice in other avenues.

This book offers a rare insight into the worlds where immigrants were poorly treated as well as Native Americans in the city. The city like San Francisco has a mixture of peoples from all walks of life. I was stunned by the racism that occurred in the predominantly African American section known as Fillmore which was occurring as well. There was a sense of old versus new in the city. It broke my heart reading about thousands of Victorian homes demolished. I don't know if it was for low income housing.

San Francisco reminds me a lot of New York City with the gentrification process. Both cities are expensive for the average person. The West Village in New York City and the Castro in San Francisco were once the center for the gay movements. Today, the West Village is so gentrified and family oriented that something got lost along the way just as the Castro probably has lost that vibrance of protest and cries for justice.

People of all walks of life including women, African Americans, the gay and lesbian communities, immigrants, and other disenfranchised minorities fought back in those years against the injustices, inequality, and degradation. Still, it goes on but now the passion and the flair for change has moved on or moved away from the central location.

The main reason that I bought this book was to read about Jonestown and the Peoples Temple. There was only three pages to the topic. Matthew Roth wrote about his communal experience. The Peoples Temple in the 1970s offered a variety of services including drug and alcohol addiction; counseling; food; shelter; jobs; and a purpose for their members. The tragedy in Jonestown may have been far removed but the remains took more than 6 months to finally be placed at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California. Following the massacre, the remains were at an air force base in Dover, Delaware (three thousand miles away).

I was glad that the author reached out to Laura Johnston Kohl (author of Jonestown Survivor) for her contributions to understanding the tragedy around Jonestown. I was surprised that Congressman Leo Ryan's name was omitted from the text. In fact when the authors were describing the housing politics, they didn't cite the fact that Rev. Jim Jones was on the housing authority board as gratitude from Mayor George Moscone for helping him win the election.

Still, there is so much to talk about with San Francisco and a time that I wished that I had live through where anything was possible. I felt that then Governor Ronald Reagan was far more liberal than we imagined regarding gay rights which isn't surprising since he was from the Hollywood entertainment scene.

I could sit here and write forever till I'm blue in the face about this city and this time period. I still miss San Francisco even though I've only been there once in 1999. The city is hospitable, friendly, liberal, and welcoming at times. The city has it's share of problems such as homelessness, drugs, alcohol addiction, high cost of living, etc. but it's still one of the best cities in the world.

I wished the editor had included a map or maps of the area. There is plenty of visuals such as cartoons and posters and murals highlighting the city's art importance. The book has a variety of interests besides women's rights, gay rights, cartoonists, musicians, murals, Vietnam war, and others to attract the interest of the readers. There is a section even devoted to ecology and organic food long before it became fashionable.

Still, San Francisco has always been on the edge in leading the future. If only more of us would return to stand up for the injustices all around us. That was the meaning of San Francisco during this era, it was to stand up and fight until we all lived equally and just in our society. All I can say is that I love and miss San Francisco and can't wait to go back there for a visit or more.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good history of my city., January 3, 2012
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shadesofviolet (San Francisco, Ca.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978 (Paperback)
I loved the chapter written by Mary Jean Robertson considering I've met her in real life. She took an AIS class with me and her chapter was very useful for writing my term paper. I never even knew about the occupation of Alcatraz during the 1960s nor was I aware of the positive impacts it gained for American Indians at the time. I think the occupy movement going on today should look back at the occupation that happened then and get some pointers. The 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz made headlines news and managed to capture the support of not only the media but also the public.

It's a highly engaging read and I would recommend it to anyone.
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Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978
Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978 by Chris Carlsson (Paperback - June 14, 2011)
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