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The Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert Is Shaping the New American Counterculture Paperback – February 1, 2011


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The Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert Is Shaping the New American Counterculture + Burning Man: Art on Fire + Desert to Dream: A Dozen Years of Burning Man Photography, Revised Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: CCC Publishing (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888729295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888729290
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"When people look back on the history of this desert civilization...I hope they refer to this comprehensive, sharply  written volume as a trusted resource." --Anna Weltner, arts editor of New Times

"What does this gathering mean to our modern times? Steven T. Jones is both a fearless explorer and the definitive guide in this astonishing terrain." --Ethan Watters, author of Urban Tribes

"The Tribes of Burning Man is an in-depth look at how one countercultural event is changing American society." --Tim Redmond, executive editor, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"A razor-sharp, adoringly told insider's account of the feral inventions, grand intentions and even grander egos that make up the world's wildest neo-pagan desert bacchanal." --Mark Morford, author, The Daring Spectacle

"From massive fire art to tiny gestures of kindness, Steve Jones surveys and captures from an insider's perspective."  —Brian Doherty, author, This Is Burning Man

About the Author

Steven T. Jones is the city editor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and is the winner of numerous journalism awards from the National Newspaper Association, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and the American Civil Liberties Union. He lives in San Francisco.


More About the Author

Steven T. Jones, aka Scribe, is a native Californian who has worked full-time for newspapers in that state for 20 years. Before becoming City Editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, he worked for Sacramento News & Review, New Times in San Luis Obispo, Coast Weekly in Monterey, Santa Maria Times, Auburn Journal, and Lassen County Times. Steve has won numerous writing and reporting awards along the way, including a Maggie and awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, National Newspaper Association, and Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (he also serves on AAN's Editorial Committee). He lives in San Francisco's Mission District, doesn't own a car, and can often be seen riding the furry, red, custom-welded bicycle that he created for Burning Man. To read some of his past work or get updates on the series of burner-style parties that we plan to throw in connection with this book, visit www.steventjones.com.

Customer Reviews

Thank you, Scribe!
John H. Styn
If you ever wanted to know what Burning Man is all about or how it is effecting the larger world, you should read this book.
De Rolyat
It is well written.
Cord Slatton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brad Olsen on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Follow Burning Man's meteoric rise from a frontier village camp-out to the third largest city in the state of Nevada during the Labor Day weekend. Steven T. Jones had unprecedented access to the founder, the board of directors, and a myriad of artist groups who collectively make Burning Man the most anticipated annual event in the United States during the last decade which he chronicled while writing this book. He delivers a definitive look at what makes this dynamic event tick, not just durning the week of the event, but all year round. Includes dozens of amazing photos too!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BerkeleyHL on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
'Tribes of Burning Man' is set mainly during the 2004-2010 era of Burning Man, while still providing historical context overall for the event and great discussion about Burning Man culture influencing and being influenced by the 'default world'. 2004 was my first year attending Burning Man, so this felt really relevant for me- it was great to read about events I'd attended and issues I'd run across and people I'd met (although completely not necessary to enjoy this book!). As a participant of the event, it's easy to miss a lot of the behind-the-scenes action, and Steven Jones provides that without the book feeling like just a recitation of "this happened and then that happened". Instead, we get stories and perspective from a wide range of Burning Man folks- from the Board members, to old-school Burners who no longer have much to do with the event in its current incarnation (Chicken John, John Law) to members of the various art and music groups within Burning Man (Flaming Lotus Girls, Opulent Temple creators, among others!). It's well-written and engaging, to the point where I stayed up much past my bedtime reading it, several nights in a row.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By someguy2004 on April 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sorry but this is a boring book if you've been to burning man over the last 10 years. I guess if you know nothing about the event and want to know more, this is one way. But honestly, the history of the event, its founding, and how its evolved, is a much more interesting story than the last 5 years which, its basically been the same. The story of its founding, Its initial growth and transformation is fascinating. Foruntately, you can get that from "THis is Burnign Man," which is truly a history of the event. And as a someone who was no there for the early years but has been going for the last 10, it really gives you some perspective and history on how/why things are the way they are now. If you want to hear about the boring petty squabbles over the last couple of years, go for it but I would recommend 2 other books instead:

1) This is Burning Man

2) Piss Clear Anthology

Both of these will give you a MUCH better and more interesting understanding of the event.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Clemens on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Steven T. Jones writes several books in one. This veteran alt-journalist and regular Burner introduces us to the sweaty, dusty, gritty and euphoric story of What It's Like to be there in person, with its cutting-edge music and art, and (naturally) the uninhibited sex and drugs that go hand in hand with this experience. But he also takes us to the roots of the event, with its intriguing and interwoven politics, the revolutions run by revolutionaries against the original revolutionaries, the complex commerce required for this effort, and the experiences of the burners who keep it alive, shift its focus from year to year, and make Burning Man a unique experience. Jones does a great job of illustrating the event and the people who have brought it to life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Martin on March 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
I always want certain things from a book review, so I'll just start with those:

* Is it true? That is, did the author dig deep to find the truth? Did he go beyond the obvious to find the hidden facets of the story?

Yes - Jones is a journalist and a burning man insider, and those two allowed him to explore the guts of burning man and its related events and networks to find real nuggets that I don't think could have come from anyone else. The result is a not just a blah blah of the event but a tour of how it works - the good and the bad and the strange. A deep and unique perspective.

* Is it entertaining? Or is it just a 'and then this happened and then that' kind of bland TV tour of burning man?

Oh yeah, it's entertaining all right. Being on the inside of the event, and being brave enough to report on his foibles and failures and those of the event has us seeing the explosive '2nd phase' of burning man from a variety of really amusing and fascinating angles. What's it like to be there - sure. But also, how is it to work your butt off on really huge projects out in the desert - a key part of understanding the real burning man.

* Is there something here to chew on, something relevant outside of the book?

Yes - we're left wondering if Burning Man is really leading us to new ways to live together. Black Rock City - the 50,000-person city that is Burning Man for a week every year - is one of the most amazing creations of mankind. It is fabulous and functional like no other - and this books left me chewing over what that means for our messed-up human cities everywhere else.

If you want to understand how Burning Man is in 2012, this is the definitive guide. Read it.
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