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on December 4, 2017
I spent six weeks reading “Season of the Witch” by David Talbot. The thick paperback is full of San Fransisco history, beginning with my all-time favorite story setting -- The Summer of Love.

Talbot begins in 1967 by telling all the beautiful and wonderfully unique characteristics that makes San Fransisco a mecca for the epically unusual. Dozens of pages are filled with stories of the bands who became brands, the personalities who shaped the hippie generation and the city's places where these stories took place.

The second section of the book tells the devestating truth about the effects of the Summer of Love. In equal amounts of love, freedom and unity came violence, division and hate. It is through these stories that we learn all of the hardships San Fransisco has had to endure to get to where it is now. Diversity is no easy thing, no matter how spectacular the setting is.

At last, the book's final section covers the resurection of the town and how it settled back in to its amazing potential by generating a winning (and amazingly diverse) football team, supporting its first female mayor and working together to keep the peace amongst its citizens.
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on August 23, 2013
Anyone who lived through the "dawn of Aquarius" and it's impact on the culture of San Francisco will inevitably have been affected in a very personal way; politically, psychologically and emotionally. Personally? I was a young woman,'coming of age', the daughter of an Irish catholic San Francisco cop. For me Talbot's reflections are spot on.An extraordinary and exhilarating time for me but cearly, not everyone will agree. How could it-with all that transpired-the love, the music, the revolution of race and gender, the War and the volatile political climate, the fueled anger and violence of those impacted horribly and it's aftermath, as well as the infusion of a huge immigrant population that was transforming the City again as it had been transformed in generations past-NOT leave it's indelible and deeply personal impact on it's citizens. It was a spectacular, wondrous and tragic time in our history. God, I'm glad I was there to experience it.
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on July 4, 2015
David Talbot’s The Season of the Witch
A narrative journey through the turbulent and iconic 1960s and 1970s in San Francisco where love, drugs, violent crime, misogyny, and odd politics stamp an indelible personality onto the City. As a former San Francisco resident, I was quite familiar with the Summer of Love, the Jonestown murders, the Harvey Milk and George Moscone assassinations, the Black Panthers’ rise and fall, gentrification, homelessness, etc. But Talbot’s clear, engaging language illuminated facts lost to memory and reawakened the horror and tension of those experiencing these incidents as they unfolded. Almost akin to a genre pulp novel, this nonfiction work is hard to put down.
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on July 1, 2012
You did not have to have been there for this tour of the parishes and underbellies of San Francisco, but if you were, it is an even better book. It is superior on every level. San Francisco in the 50's-80's was one of the few places where upon meeting someone you were asked what parish you came from. And then what high school was it- SI? Sacred Heart? Riorden? And then Lowell. And that was at a Be-in, the Fillmore, or City Hall. All that has changed but those memories live on in this wonderful history-how did it begin and where did it end, after all?
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on May 22, 2016
What a page turner! I've lived in the Bay Area most of my life and never knew even half of this book's interesting content. I was utterly under the witch's spell throughout! This should be required reading for anyone living here, or anyone contemplating moving here, OR anyone interested in a fascinating journey through several eras in this country. Wonderful read!
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on September 30, 2017
I lived in San Francisco during the early 70's. The book was a trip back to the past and enlightened those turbulent times.
Great history lesson.
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on October 18, 2016
A terrific insight to the history of San Francisco during the 60's, 70's and 80's. I enjoyed this read because being from the Bay Area, I remember these events but didn't know the full details. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the political side, as well, the emotional side. The City of San Francisco experienced change first hand, long before the rest of the country did. Like all cities, it had its dark side, too. A great ready, very interesting!
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on November 7, 2016
For any one who wants to understand how the Bay Area politics came to be what they are today, Season of the Witch is a must read. Talbot's review of the 60s and 70s in the Bay Area shows that all was not hippies and peace; and a lot of people made their own bargains for their own self interest.

I wish I had read this book when I first moved to the Bay. I would have better understood the strange fight between the Catholic men's Mafia and progressive forces willing to use Jim Jones as a tool and equally willing to ignore his real problems.

No one comes out to this book covered with glory, but the reader will come away with a much better understanding of Bay Area History and the context of Joe Alioto, Jim Jones, Willie Brown, George Moscone, Dan White, Dianne Feinstein Harvey Milk and the other larger, and sometimes smaller, than life characters who worked together, and against each other, to "guide" San Francisco from as it changed from an insular West Coast town, to an international symbol of progressive thought.
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on August 27, 2017
I was there. This book is spot on. Clears up some confusion that remained for me
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on February 4, 2016
Loved the historical perspective of San Francisco's evolution. It was fun to read about 'famous' people who had different lives in the 60's and early 70's hippy San Francisco days. It was sad to read about the corrupt law enforcement that ruled the city for so many years. And the fascinating politics that included assassinations, murders, payoffs and Jimmy Jones make this history sound like a made for TV movie. San Francisco is a special city and this book helps tell her fascinating story.
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