Season Of The Witch

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday May 29, 2012
Season Of The Witch

homes Few cities experienced a more tumultuous history throughout the 1960's and 1970's than the "city by the bay," San Francisco. Author David Talbot ("Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years") gives a tremendously engaging, accessible, informative look at the life and times of the northern California peninsula in "Season of the Witch," focusing on the period beginning with the "Summer of Love" and culminating with the surprise success of the football 49ers in the 1982 Super Bowl.

San Francisco was the country's "flower child" in 1967 when promoter Bill Graham staged his famed concerts in Golden Gate Park and the Fillmore Auditorium. These concerts are credited with bringing artists such as the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin to national prominence. During this time, Talbot writes about the mass arrival of gypsies and hippies who hoped to liberate their souls and spirits from their homes around America, homes that were beginning to crack under the strain from post-McCarthy conservatism and the current conflict in Vietnam.

Talbot equally divides his chapters between the cultural evolution of the city and the explosive political upheavals that would directly impact the citizens and their surroundings.

Talbot gives thorough and moving descriptions of the chaos brought to the city by the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Zebra murders of the 1970's; how the liberal philosophies of the city not only created a home for the hippies in the 1960's, but led to the influx of homosexuals in the late 1970's to the city's Castro area, and the subsequent death toll within the gay community by the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980's.

Talbot dedicates a number of chapters to Reverend Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre, as well as the rise and tragic fall of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, both of whom were early Jones supporters. He writes as one with an extreme pride for his city, but yet he retains an honest and realistic understanding that San Francisco has had its struggles in addition to its successes. Talbot's book is a sociological triumph.

"Season of the Witch"
David Talbot
Free Press

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


  • Shwicaz, 2012-05-30 18:51:50

    Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention, Steven. I went out and got a copy today at Barnes and Noble in the Pru. Looking forward to digging in!

Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook