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Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love Paperback – March 5, 2013
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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)
“Talbot 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.” —Booklist
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
If you love San Francisco today and want to understand the political and cultural dynamics of today, this is a good book to educate you. If you are looking for a thorough history of San Francisco from the 1960s-1990s, I suspect there are other, better researched and more balanced view points out there.
category it is "iffy," with a writing style which is mediocre and a pacing which can bore one. The author obviously is on the side of tolerance, diversity, and all those other good things....but that doesn't make up for what is, at best, a so-so book. If Amazon allowed even more precise ratings, I'd give this book 1.5 stars, not 2.
I’ve been lucky to have traveled to San Francisco quite a few times in my life and every time I go I re-fall in love with it. The last time I went with my two teenagers and was surprised that they also loved San Francisco. I love the look, the feel, the mildness of the city. And most of all, I love the way the city has built up over the years, layer upon layer of divergent, yet compatible buildings, soaked in fog in the morning and bathed in sunlight in the afternoon.
It’s beauty has always caused some jealously between the newcomers and its long standing inhabitants, but nothing like the tumultuous 60′s. Everything was changing, and changing fast, and David Talbot chronicles these changes in a gripping story with all the intrigue of a suspense-filled thriller. We all know the outcome, but we didn’t know all the parts in motion.
It wasn’t just Haight-Asbury that turned away from conventional wisdom, varies parts of the City would take their own turn in the spotlight. It’s truly amazing that the City came through this ticking-time bomb.
Although, you’ll know the names of the people who came up through the drug haze to become famous for one thing or another, you’ll be amazed at the number of them, and the differing reasons for their fame.
This is a good book for book club because you will have very interesting discussions. The right and wrong of the City at the time is so evident to us leaning back and reading about them, but imagine living through it. The doctors that made a decision to help all these kids coming into the City. It wasn’t all bad.
Although, my favorite in this genre is “Devil in the White City,” I loved this book and think it will be a good edition to your book club choices. I gave it an 8.5 on my book club website. We all know change is hard, but Talbot showed us just how hard it really is.
Once you pick up this book you won't be able to put it down. I found myself taking it to the bathroom.
I haven't had a reading experience this intense in many years.
Bravo David! One hell of a job.