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In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the…

In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea

by Danny Goldberg

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book attempts to describe the hippie ideal of love and peace as it suddenly blossomed forth early in 1967 in Haight-Ashbury and elsewhere. The historical and cultural events which led to the ideal, the manifestation of the ideal itself (including the music) and its rapid decline into crime, violence, hard drugs, and conservative reaction are all covered in detail in a thoughtful, informed way. Finally, the author speculates on the meaning of it all half a century later.
The author's career was as a producer in the music business. He knew or knows most of the people he writes about. In the end, he emphasizes the centrality of LSD in producing the 1967 vibe. Perhaps one reason some of this fails to reverberate with me (although I was born in 1947 and lived through the events described here) is that I never (knowingly) took LSD.
Love and peace are great ideals, but they must be accompanied by political action. That, in turn, means compromise. For me, the last presidential election made that point.
Read the book! It is full of insight and information. (Note the sophisticated works in the bibliography.) Think hard about what Goldberg says! ( )
  Illiniguy71 | Jul 12, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 1967 it was the Summer of Love and I had just finished my first year of college. Our world was all abuzz with the countercultural movement going on, centered in San Francisco. My older brother was already affecting hippie garb and collecting Bill Graham Fillmore posters and such. So a friend and I decided to drive up to SF and see what it was all about. We arrived there and drove to the Haight and then walked around checking out the "hippies." I felt out of place with my straight short-haired college look.
That was my introduction to the hippie idea. Well, it's 50 years later and it's fun and nostalgic to look back, and marvel at all the changes since then. I picked up this book to read about the cultural idea of "hippieness" and thought it would be a popular treatment. However, the book really delves into the times in depth, reviewing the years leading up to 1967 and then examining the events and ideas that surrounded and shaped the movement, if we can call it that. I was impressed with the breadth of the discussion. Of course, having lived it all, it seems somewhat obvious to me, the music, the dress, the politics, etc. But it is a good treatment and fairly complete story of what happened in that time; it's a book I could give to my kids and say "Here's a good summary of what we (baby boomers) went through when we were growing up then." I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject.
  RickLA | Jun 27, 2017 |
I have thoroughly enjoyed my ‘Advance Reading Copy’ of IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD: 1967 AND THE HIPPIE IDEA from Akashic Books. I jokingly told my husband the book could be our own memoirs!
IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD: 1967 AND THE HIPPIE IDEA by Danny Goldberg is a social and cultural and personal history of the year 1967.
It is certainly concise, well-written and well-documented with just the right amount of personal thoughts and anecdotes.
The book contains a Table of Contents; an Introduction; 9 chapters; an Epilogue; a 1967 Timeline; Sources and Acknowledgements.
Danny Goldberg’s Introduction tries to define and describe the 1960’s. He graduated from Fieldston High School in New York City in 1967 and “the sixties had a lasting influence on me and many of my closest friends from that time.” (I would totally agree with that statement.)
There were many ‘shadowy’ elements to the 1960’s and 1967, in particular - the black cloud of a military draft; the loss of faith in authority; civil rights’ changes and tensions; the Vietnam War; the “communal sweetness and tribal intimacy” of the hippie movement.
There were so many significant events in 1967 (see the 1967 Timeline). The Human-Be In in Haight-Ashbury; musical milestones - Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released - the Monterey Pop Festival; the Summer of Love; anti-war protests; race riots; Muhammad Ali refuses the draft; debut of Rolling Stone magazine; drugs.
It is mind-boggling that 1967 was such a busy social, political, musical, cultural year of changes!
My reactions and favorite bits:
p. 20 the Che Guevara reference “Forces in the government and corporate America conspired to crush the cultural rebellions, but they were aided by infighting on the political left, a syndrome which, legend has it, led Che Guevara to quip that if you asked American leftists to form a firing squad, they’d get into a circle. (I love that!)
p. 21 “As the decades passed, the music of the period would prove to be the most resilient trigger of authentic memories.” (That is certainly true for me.)
I liked Chapter 2 - Before the Deluge 1954-1966
I liked the tv and entertainment references - Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In, Firesign Theatre, the musical HAIR, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Beatles, Grace Slick (I could go on and on - all triggers for me)
The references to Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.
The term ‘made out’ - one doesn’t hear that expression much anymore.
The Epilogue with its references to The Whole Earth Catalog and Tom Hayden.
Environmentalism, vegetarianism, health foods, pot, LSD, yoga, Eastern mysticism, free love, alternative media choices - making their way into the mainstream of cultural life.
An excellent book. I think it’s time to listen to my Sgt. Pepper album! ( )
  diana.hauser | Jun 3, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Danny Goldberg's book is a look back at the countercultural events and ideas of 1967, with an emphasis on "the hippie idea." At times the book becomes little more than a list of events in one area or another (as in the admittedly quick survey of the years leading up to 1967, or the section on Black music and the counter-culture.) But the book is mostly deeper than that, and even when it isn't - the events listed are pretty interesting just standing on their own.

Goldberg is at his best when explicating the competing strains and tensions within the counter-culture - such as between the hippie philosophy of dropping out and tuning in, and the resistance philosophy of organizing for political action. The book is an easy read, and - at least in the advance copy I read - does not provide many citations to sources within the text or in endnotes. As a general reader this did not bother me. A little bit of the book is personal anecdote, and more of it appears to be informed by personal interviews he conducted (or, perhaps, from interviews by others researched by Goldberg).

I was happy to read a book like this, sympathetic to the "hippie idea" while being open-eyed about the failures and negative consequences of the movement.
  Capybara_99 | Jun 1, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was born in 1971, so the hippies of 1967 were my parents' generation, not mine (although neither of my parents were actually counted among their number). I've always found it kind of interesting to look back on this particular part of history, though. Interesting and confusing, because I inevitably find that my feelings towards these members of the 60s counterculture consist of equal parts admiration and disdain. The admiration is for their belief in many causes I think were absolutely right, for their ability to speak with sincere earnestness about subjects like peace and love that we can't seem to approach today without ironic cynicism and an almost reflexive desire to cringe way from anything "corny," and for their dedication to being the change they wanted to see in the world. Not to mention the fact that they produced some darned good music. The disdain is for their often painful naivete, for their embracing of New Age gobbledygook and other forms of irrationality, for what often seems to be a baby-with-the-bathwater approach to the rejection of mainstream society, and for their downright unhealthy obsession with drugs.

After reading this book, I think I still feel pretty much all the same things, only maybe a little more so. It's basically an overview of the hippie movement, focusing primarily on 1967, the year the counterculture wave seems to have crested. The author, Danny Goldberg, graduated from high school that year, and is thus describing the world he came of age into and considered himself a part of. He also happens to to have had a number of connections to significant people in the hippie scene, directly or indirectly. He calls this a "subjective history" of the subject, interspersing straightforward reporting about the events of '67 with occasional comments about his own thoughts and experiences. In theory, this sounds like a good idea, avoiding creating the misleading impression of distance and complete objectivity and adding a little bit of an immediate, personal touch. In practice, I'm not sure it works all that well, as Goldberg's interjections about his own life sometimes seem out of place, grafted awkwardly onto more journalistic writing. And, while I doubt it was deliberate, I couldn't help feeling like it consisted largely of a lot of authorial name-dropping.

That aside, though, this was generally well-researched and informative, and given its ostensibly narrow focus on one particular year, it actually covers quite a lot of ground. I will say that I found some sections a lot more interesting than others. The discussion of the relationship between the hippie movement and the civil rights and Black Power movements, for instance, I found illuminating and engaging. Long summations of what festivals were held where and who organized them and who said what from the stage, however, were much less so, and there were times, especially in the early chapters, where my mind started wandering slightly.

But even if my feelings on the book were a little bit mixed, I did find it worth reading. If nothing else, it's useful to be reminded, in times like these, that social turmoil and political divisiveness are nothing new. I'm not sure whether it's a thought that's comforting or frightening, to be honest, but it is definitely one we ought to keep in mind.

Rating: I'm calling this one 3.5/5, just because it was a bit uneven for me, but I do feel a little stingy doing so, and I strongly suspect that anyone with more of a personal connection to the subject matter, or a stronger personal interest in it, is likely to appreciate it more thoroughly than I did. ( )
1 vote bragan | May 31, 2017 |
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