In the late 1960s, Malcolm Terence left his job as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times to look for adventure and may have found more than he bargained for. The era had triggered unprecedented social and political changes in America, tectonic shifts that challenged war and the social order that oppressed people along lines of class, gender, and race. One branch was a back-to-the-land movement, and Terence, who had just traveled for a year managing a rock band, strayed into Black Bear Ranch, a commune just starting in a remote corner of the Klamath Mountains near the California-Oregon border.
Black Bear Ranch still exists, but many of its early residents eventually returned to urban civilization. A few, Terence among them, stayed on in neighboring river towns. Some tried logging, others gold mining, and some tried growing marijuana, all with mixed success. The local mining and timber communities had a checkered opinion of their new hippie neighbors, as did the Native tribes, but it was the kind of place where people helped each other out, even if they didn’t always agree.
When wildfires grew large, Terence and other veterans of the commune joined the fire crews run by the US Forest Service. In between, the Black Bear expats built homesteads, planted gardens, delivered babies, and raised their children. They gradually overcame the skepticism of the locals and joined them in political battles against the use of herbicides in the forest and the Forest Service’s campaign to close all the mining claims. As in the best of organizing efforts, the organizers learned as much as they led.
Beginner’s Luck will appeal to anyone who experienced life on a commune in the 1960s–1970s or who wants to learn about this chapter in modern American history. Terence offers insight into environmental activism and the long history of conflict between resource exploitation and Native American rights without lecturing or pontificating. With wit, humor, and humility, his anecdotal essays chronicle a time and place where disparate people came together to form an unlikely community.
Sarah B. Pralle takes an in-depth look at why some environmental conflicts expand to attract a lot of attention and participation, while others generate little interest or action. Branching Out, Digging In examines the expansion and containment of political conflict around forest policies in the United States and Canada.
Late in 1993 citizens from around the world mobilized on behalf of saving old-growth forests in Clayoquot Sound. Yet, at the same time only a very few took note of an even larger reserve of public land at risk in northern California. Both cases, the Clayoquot Sound controversy in British Columbia and the Quincy Library Group case in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California, centered around conflicts between environmentalists seeking to preserve old-growth forests and timber companies fighting to preserve their logging privileges. Both marked important episodes in the history of forest politics in their respective countries but with dramatically different results. The Clayoquot Sound controversy spawned the largest civil disobedience in Canadian history; international demonstrations in Japan, England, Germany, Austria, and the United States; and the most significant changes in British Columbia's forest policy in decades. On the other hand, the California case, with four times as many acres at stake, became the poster child for the "collaborative conservation" approach, using stakeholder collaboration and negotiation to achieve a compromise that ultimately broke down and ended up in the courts.
Pralle analyzes how the various political actors—local and national environmental organizations, local residents, timber companies, and different levels of government—defined the issues in both words and images, created and reconfigured alliances, and drew in different governmental institutions to attempt to achieve their goals. She develops a dynamic new model of conflict management by advocacy groups that puts a premium on nimble timing, flexibility, targeting, and tactics to gain the advantage and shows that how political actors go about exploiting these opportunities and overcoming constraints is a critical part of the policy process.
"This is not a simple or ordinary history of a conservation crusade. Schrepfer very ably traces the changes in scientific wisdom from nineteenth-century romanticism and teleological evolutionism to more current ecological dynamism—and the influence of those intellectual developments on political history. . . . The subject is important—much broader than the title suggests—and so is the book."—American Historical Review
California’s history is rich and diverse, with numerous fascinating stories hidden in its past. Before the discovery of gold in the Sierras, San Francisco (Yerba Buena) and its surroundings comprised a sparsely populated frontier on the edge of the old Spanish realm. After 1848, the area rapidly transformed into a settled urban system as a tremendous influx of prospectors and settlers came to seek their fortune in California. A wave of gold miners, merchants, farmers, politicians, carpenters, and many others from various backgrounds and corners of the world migrated to the area at that time. Interrelated social, geographic, and economic processes led to a very quick metamorphosis from frontier settlement to a firmly established system with ingrained economic patterns.
The development of San Francisco’s outlying region from a wilderness into a prosperous village and farming mecca shows how quickly in-migration coupled with economic diversification can establish a stable settlement structure upon the landscape. Otterstrom describes an intricately woven tapestry of interrelated people who were contributing creators of a wide variety of prosperous northern California environs. He uncovers the processes that converted this sleepy post-Mexican outpost into a focal point of nearly hyperactive youthful growth. The narrative follows this crucial story of settlement development until the dawn of the twentieth century, through the interconnected framework of individual and family ingenuity, migration trajectories, and diverse geographical scales.
Multiplying individualistic experiences from across far-flung appendages of the Northern California system into larger and larger scales, Otterstrom has achieved a matchless historical and sociological study that will form the basis for any future studies of the area.
In the early 1960s, computers haunted the American popular imagination. Bleak tools of the cold war, they embodied the rigid organization and mechanical conformity that made the military-industrial complex possible. But by the 1990s—and the dawn of the Internet—computers started to represent a very different kind of world: a collaborative and digital utopia modeled on the communal ideals of the hippies who so vehemently rebelled against the cold war establishment in the first place.
From Counterculture to Cyberculture is the first book to explore this extraordinary and ironic transformation. Fred Turner here traces the previously untold story of a highly influential group of San Francisco Bay–area entrepreneurs: Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth network. Between 1968 and 1998, via such familiar venues as the National Book Award–winning Whole Earth Catalog, the computer conferencing system known as WELL, and, ultimately, the launch of the wildly successful Wired magazine, Brand and his colleagues brokered a long-running collaboration between San Francisco flower power and the emerging technological hub of Silicon Valley. Thanks to their vision, counterculturalists and technologists alike joined together to reimagine computers as tools for personal liberation, the building of virtual and decidedly alternative communities, and the exploration of bold new social frontiers.
Shedding new light on how our networked culture came to be, this fascinating book reminds us that the distance between the Grateful Dead and Google, between Ken Kesey and the computer itself, is not as great as we might think.