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The Upstart Spring: Esalen and the Human Potential Movement: The First Twenty Years

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595307357
ISBN-10: 0595307353
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Truett Anderson is an author of wide-ranging interests who has written on many subjects including American politics, Buddhism, globalization and postmodern philosophy. He led programs at Esalen, and has taught and lectured extensively in the US and abroad. A Ph.D. in political science and social psychology, he is currently president of the World Academy of Art and Science.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (February 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595307353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595307357
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By P. Strayer on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This too little known book deserves to be on everyone's bookshelf. Walter Truett Anderson is a great raconteur of the highest caliber. And the story there is to tell! The only wonder is why this hasn't been made into a movie...the stories are sooooo interesting and the cast of characters in the first chapter alone would make the book worthy of attention...from Joan Baez and Hunter Thompson (one can only imagine what he was like as "security guard/caretaker") to gay bathers, Hell's Angels and Big Sur's bohemian artistes like Henry Miller...what a time.

This book seems like a worthy memoir of it all. A sort of collective Big Chill for the rest of us.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Walter Truett Anderson (born 1933) is a political scientist, social psychologist, and author of numerous nonfiction books, such as The Truth about the Truth (New Consciousness Reader), The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution, Evolution Isn't What It Used to Be: The Augmented Animal and the Whole Wired World, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1983 book, "This book is primarily a chronicle, a story of Esalen and the people and ideas that became associated with it. In that regard I am, like any other historian, a retailer of other people's experiences. The analysis that weaves through the narrative is, of course, mine."

Here are some quotations from the book:

"(Michael) Murphy and (Richard) Price agreed that their programs would be open and flexible, not wedded to any particular school or discipline. They would establish a center for the exploration of new ideas. The guiding principle would be synthesis: the flowing-together of East and West, the ancient and the modern, science and religion, scholarship and art." (Pg. 48)
"Although Esalen never became a truly political place---certainly not the hotbed of revolutionary thought that a few of its supporters hoped it would be and a few right-wingers believed it was---its programs reflected many of the conflicts that would sweep through the decade." (Pg.
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Format: Paperback
Walt Anderson is a fantastic writer. And Esalen is such an amazing place that this is a must read for anyone who is interested in the birth of the human potential movement in America.

The stories of Michael Murphy, Dick Price, and the early days are inspiring, thrilling, and a testament to the power of a few to change the consciousness of a generation.
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Whilst living in California some years ago, I did spend time at various workshops at Esalen and fell in love with the place and it's beautiful location. Over time, my curiosity on how this place actually came about and how it has evolved (hugely) since it's inception fascinated me and here is the perfect book for others who would like to know more about Esalen.

Would recommend to all with an interest in the human potential movement in California which began in the 60's and continues to this day...
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