Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love Hardcover – May 8, 2012
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The liberation of San Francisco came with a price. Talbot presents the tempestuous years, from 1967 to 1982, as a new-versus-old battle for the city’s soul. In an extensive history bursting with details and larger-than-life personalities, Talbot champions the outsiders, a human carnival from hippies to drag queens to activists, against the authorities representing the old, mainly Catholic, establishment. The extensive cast of characters includes Janis Joplin, Patty Hearst, Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and Bill Walsh. Talbot, who started the San Francisco–based web magazine Salon and previously wrote the bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years (2007), presents gripping accounts of both crime sprees and football showdowns. Even people who were there might take away something new, and for others, the book offers a comprehensive introduction to the era. Talbot believes modern San Francisco values have changed the world, and he explores the crucible of the transformation, in all its hope, violence, and glory. --Bridget Thoreson
“Season of the Witch is an enthralling — and harrowing — account of how the 1967 Summer of Love gave way to 20 or so winters of discontent. An undercurrent of rock music runs through the book…Some of the artists, such as the Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, still get airplay. Others enjoyed fleeting fame. Season of the Witch, however, is good enough to last." —Washington Post
“A gritty corrective to our rosy memories…enthralling, news-driven history...smart and briskly paced tale... I found it hard to put down Season of the Witch." —San Francisco Chronicle
“[A] sprawling, ambitious history… Talbot’s energetic, highly entertaining storytelling conveys the exhilaration of ’60s counterculture as well as the gathering ugliness that would mark the city in the ’70s.” —Boston Globe
"Talbot's book is a gritty, poetic Valentine to the city by the bay as it emerged as a fantasia of ethnic, cultural, sexual, intellectual and social liberation. Talbot doesn't back off from having literary flowers in his hair recounting some of the halcyon days of the summer of love, but he also chronicles the city's many problems with a heavy dose of hardboiled reporter noir. " —Huffington Post
“Exhaustive research yields penetrating character studies…Talbot incisively relates the atmosphere of service in the Haight…In a surprising ending, Talbot convincingly suggests that imperfect new mayor Dianne Feinstein resurrected the city’s heart as it rallied around the 49ers. In exhilarating fashion, Talbot clears the rainbow mist and brings San Francisco into sharp focus.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Fascinating...[the] absorbing, breakneck story of how the City by the Bay fought off its demons in the 1970s and '80s and emerged with enlightened values intact." —Portland Oregonian
"Excellent...Talbot's account of the rise of Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple religious movement is absolutely masterful, allowing the reader to see just how and why this unstable preacher achieved such prominence. Talbot not only gives us a nuanced account of the city that he clearly loves, but he also gives us a cultural history of late-20th-century America."—Milwaukee Shepard-Express
"Talbot's new book delves to impressive depths in tracing the city's transformation from parochial backwater to countercultural beacon… the Salon founder deftly sketches portraits of hippies, politicos, and rights activists who forged our 'San Francisco values' and in the process rescues some old icons from obscurity… a compulsively entertaining page-turner… A useful lesson for our Occupied times: Change is hard, but it's possible." —San Francisco Magazine
"A fresh, fun, vigorous look at a strange American city David Talbot knows well and loves with irony." —Oliver Stone
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It brought forth an understanding of myself, hidden for years within my subconscious, as to what I had experienced during that framed period.
I now understand my tenaciousness and compassion to protect the Constitutional rights of all - here in the United States.
Having worked on Harvey Milk's campaign and that of George Moscone as well; I was astonished to read of the behind the scenes happenings that I, and I am sure many campaign workers for Mr. Milk and Mr. Moscone were unaware of.
I have stopped wondering why four CIA agents bought my properties at 875-877 and 879-881-883 Hayes Street! And one agent still lives there at 96 years old. Two other agents, lived at those addresses until their deaths. Mr. Talbot's - SEASON OF THE WITCH - makes the presence of those agents in that neighborhood - logical.
And, I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO - having been written by two gay lovers! How historically cool is that?
Thanks so much Mr. Talbot, for SEASON OF THE WITCH and I certainly hope that NETFLIX or HBO SPECIAL, with your consent, is adapted to the television format
William Joel Ashley
Hollywood Hills, California.
Although the author eschews the temptation to romanticize San Francisco’s multidimensional history, he acknowledges all the best that the city has to offer as he portrays the struggles and hardships that many readers might not be aware of—for example, the racial divide that vexed the city for much of the 1970s and the uneasy political partnerships that existed between venerable liberal figures like Mayor George Moscone, Harvey Milk, and the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones’ suicide cult, which once held an eerie degree of political power in the city.
Talbot devotes large sections of the book to the SLA and its abduction of Patty Hearst, San Francisco’s evolution as the gay capital of the US (if not the world), the strange ordeal of the Peoples Temple, Dan White’s assassination of Moscone and Milk, Dianne Feinstein’s political ascension, and other bits of history both profound (the Zebra murders) and uplifting (the 49ers’ triumph as NFL champions).
Overall, a compelling examination of the city of San Francisco, and a must-read for anyone who lives there or who has ever been curious about the city’s unique appeal.
David Talbot has crafted a wonderfully written and meticulously researched book about a 15-year period of San Francisco’s political and cultural history, Season of the Witch. It covers much more than the Summer of Love. Readers will be re-introduced, or be discovering for the first time, the likes of Vincent Hallinan, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Moby Grape, Harvey Milk, Patty Hearst, Herb Caen and Cleve Jones.
Season of the Witch is filled with overflowing exuberance on one page and grief and rage on the next. Stories about free outdoor concerts given by The Grateful Dead and other local bands yield to stories about drug dealing street punks and self-styled revolutionaries.
As the region became a destination for free spirits, adventure seekers and sexual minorities, conflicts between newcomers and established residents were inevitable. Talbot’s portrayal of San Francisco’s law enforcement community was too generalized and harsh in the opinion of some reviewers who lived in the region at the time, but he does not exaggerate the power and influence of Catholic Church doctrine as it reinforced attitudes about God, Family, Country and Civic Order in the hearts and minds of police officers and elected officials.
One officer, firmly grounded in Catholic values, was Dan White. While preparing to run for a position on the Board of Supervisors in 1977, “White lashed out at the ‘social malignancies’ and ‘cesspool of perversion’ that were contaminating his hometown. ‘I am not going to be forced out of San Francisco by splinter groups of radicals, social deviants and incorrigibles,’ vowed White.”
And, finally, Season of the Witch forces us to remember the monster that was Jim Jones. The story of the People’s Temple, the forced pilgrimage of hundreds of disciples to the humid hellhole of Guyana and the horrific ending is treated objectively by Talbot.
One oversight: The widespread, defiant denial with respect to AIDS within the gay community, which alienated many straights and probably delayed the legalization of civil unions and same-sex marriage by at least a decade, was never addressed by the author.
Other west coast cities would come to emulate the libertarianism of San Francisco – Seattle, Eugene, Portland, Vancouver, B.C. - and there are many cautionary tales for leaders of those communities to heed within the pages of Season of the Witch.
Talbot’s opus is a profoundly valuable addition to our historical understanding of societal pendulum swings. If I could give it six stars, I would
Most recent customer reviews
Book reads like a checklist of assorted incidents, trying to cover all the bases (drugs, rock music, gays, Chinese,...Read more