Cover

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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

About the Author

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p. vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

No social phenomenon as vast, open-ended, and geographically, culturally, and ideologically diverse as the 1960s-era communal tide can be adequately represented in any single volume. This book simply seeks to provide an overview of the great siege of commune-building within a loosely chronological and typological framework. If nothing else, the book in its notes and bibliography will point toward useful resources for those who would like to know more about the topic. Only the practical realities of the world of writing...

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xxviii

Communal societies have long been an American cultural fixture, with anywhere from dozens to hundreds of them operating at any given moment since the pioneers of Plockhoy's Commonwealth and the Labadists of Bohemia Manor took to the common life in the seventeenth century.1 Nothing in the American communal past, however, would have led any judicious observer to predict the incredible communal explosion that began during the 1960s. In a period...

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1. Set and Setting: The Roots of the 1960s-Era Communes

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pp. 1-16

The communes of the 1960s era stood firmly in the American communal tradition. To be sure, several observers have noted that many hippies and others of their generation were not consciously interested in history, seeing themselves as new people creating a whole new social order independent of the past, and have hypothesized that the 1960s communes had sources entirely apart from the dynamics that led to such earlier communal movements as those...

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2. The New Communes Emerge: 1960-1965

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pp. 17-40

The first stirrings of the new communalism of the 1960s came early in the decade. Even though it was not until 1965-with the establishment of Drop City in southern Colorado-that the new genre of the hippie commune became fully formed, the first few years of the decade saw incremental developments in communal life that in retrospect can be seen to have anticipated and shaped what was to come soon afterwards. Notable new experiments in community...

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3. Communes Begin to Spread: 1965-1967

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pp. 41-66

Drop City marked the beginning of what would be for a year or two a trickle and after that a flood of communes throughout the United States. The majority of the early communal activity took place in three general locations: California, especially the northern part of the state; northern New Mexico; and the Northeast, from New England down to Virginia.

California: The Hog Farm and Friends

Although most of the California communes that stirred the public imagination ran...

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4. Out of the Haight and Back to the Land: Countercultural Communes after the Summer of Love

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pp. 67-91

The latter months of 1967 through the first few years of the 1970s saw a frenzy of commune-founding that dwarfed what had gone before. Indeed, so pronounced and visible was the communitarian surge that many observers mistakenly date the beginning of the new communalism to that period. What is not mistaken is that a great rise in communal activity did take place, most colorfully perhaps in rural locations but also...

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5. Searching far a Common Center: Religious and Spiritual Commnnes

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pp. 92-127

The American 1960s were a time of cultural innovation and experimentation, and religion was as lively a center of the action as any. Asian teachers were streaming into the United States as never before, the esoteric ancient-wisdom religions were getting a new round of inquirers, and unanticipated conservative Protestants in hippie garb surprised just about everyone.

It should be acknowledged at the outset that the subject of this chapter, religious and spiritual...

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6. Secular Visionaries: Communes for Social Reform and the Good Life

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pp. 128-148

Religious conviction has historically been a mighty motivator of activists who would make the world better, but not all reformers have founded their social-improvement programs on religious bases. In the 1960s era as throughout American communal history, many communes had no focus that could be properly identified as religious-but they did want to change things. Often that meant they envisioned nothing less than the remaking of society as a whole...

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7. Ends andMeans: Communal Ideologies, Economics, and Organization

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pp. 149-169

By definition, communes have purposes; otherwise they would simply be transient groups of roommates. Inevitably they have economic arrangements, if only loose ones, because even the communes avowedly opposed to American capitalism and materialism have to deal with financial issues. And communes have structures-if not formal bylaws, hierarchies, and governmental systems, then at least informal arrangements by which the complexities of interpersonal...

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8. The People of the Communes

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pp. 170-191

A decentralized movement with hundreds of thousands of members could be expected to have a great deal of variety among its participants. Communards came from both urban and rural backgrounds and from all socioeconomic levels, and they ranged widely in age. At the open-land communities where no one was asked to leave, at one time or another just about every kind of person was present; the more structured communities, on the other hand, tended...

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9. Doing It: Daily Life in the Communes

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pp. 192-224

At some communes the wake-up gong rang before dawn, and every day was ordered and task-oriented. At the most anarchistic places daily life was utterly unstructured, except as individuals chose to join with others in working on group projects. Over time, just as communes sorted their personnel and evolved into functional groups of compatible persons, they came up with ways of living that made it all work....

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10. Moving On

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pp. 225-242

The story of the 1960s-era communes has been diverse in every detail, and that diversity applies as much to the end of the phenomenon as to anything else. Some communes went out with a bang, some with a whimper, and some are still going-robustly or feebly, publicly or privately, with the same leadership and ideals that they had two or three decades ago or heading in some new direction....

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Afterword: Communal Life after 1975

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pp. 243-248

This volume and its predecessor have outlined the story of communal living in the first three-quarters of the twentieth century; what remains is the telling of the story of the remainder of the century. My hope is that soon after century's end I will be able to complete the story begun in these first two volumes. Much gathering of information awaits me, however, and a bit of time to provide some historical perspective also will be needed before that work can...

Appendix

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pp. 249-286

Notes

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pp. 287-316

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 317-320

Index

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pp. 321-330

Back Cover

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