There's something bewitching about San Francisco. From the time I was a young girl visiting with my parents, then being a teenager and exploring the City with friends, and later a young adult renting what really was a slum (I didn't care--I had a bay window!) the City has cast its spell on me. I am not alone.
Since before the Gold Rush days of the 1850s, San Francisco has attracted both visionaries and malcontents, people with big dreams who were not afraid to take chances and people wanting to create a new and better life for themselves.
That hasn't changed much in the 160 years since then. It was certainly apparent in the 1960s and 1970s. Who remembers the turmoil of those days? It was a time of dramatic social changes, and no where was that more evident than in San Francisco.
In the best selling book, Season of the Witch, David Talbot gives us the background leading up to the turbulent 1960s and 70s and beyond, and then an in-depth study of the people and events of the day. He brings to life the politicians and musicians, poets and physicians, young run aways and army veterans of the day, preachers and police, with all the complexities we humans exhibit. People like:
- Bill Graham - more than simply a concert promoter, a refugee from war-torn Europe
- Herb Caen - the beloved columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle who hailed from Sacramento and dubbed himself, the "Sackamenna Kid"
- Youth Minister Edward Beggs who left his church to minister to and assist the young people who flocked to the city
- The politicians - Mayors Joseph Alioto, George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown
- Dan White and Charles Manson and Jim Jones - people who caused unbearable pain and horror
- The San Francisco 49ers - and how a sports team could help the City leave the dark days behind and rise up again
For history buffs, San Francisco lovers, music fans - anyone curious about the people and times of the 1960s and 70s, pick up a copy of Season of the Witch. Let me know what you think.
(PS: After raising a family in the suburbs, I moved back to San Francisco a few years ago, and am still smitten. Once again I'm living my San Francisco dream and loving it. Let me know if I can help you find your special place in the City.)