Cover image for Season of the witch : enchantment, terror, and deliverance in the City of Love
Season of the witch : enchantment, terror, and deliverance in the City of Love
Talbot, David, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, 2012.
Physical Description:
xvii, 452 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling author David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 and 1982--and of the extraordinary men and women who led to the city's ultimate rebirth and triumph. Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself--and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Francisco's ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span.
Wild Irish rogues -- pt. 1. Enchantment. Saturday afternoon -- Dead men dancing -- The walled city -- The free city -- The lost children of Windy Feet -- Street medicine -- Murder on Shakedown Street -- The Napoleon of Rock -- The daily circus -- San Francisco's morning kiss -- Radio Free America -- The palace of golden cocks -- pt. 2. Terror. A death in the family -- Lucifer rising -- A knife down your throat -- Benevolent dictator -- Love's last stand -- Dungeons and dragons -- The revolution will be televised -- Black and white and red all over -- The empress of Chinatown -- San Francisco satyricon -- Civic war -- Inside man -- Slouching toward San Francisco -- Prophet of doom -- Exodus -- Rapture in the jungle -- The reckoning -- A tale of two cities -- Day of the gun -- pt. 3. Deliverance. Fire by trial -- The center holds -- Strange angels -- Playing against God -- The city of Saint Francis.

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HN80.S4 T35 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HN80.S4 T35 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In a kaleidoscopic narrative, the New York Times bestselling author of Brothers recounts the gripping story of the civil strife and tragedies that beset San Francisco between 1967 and 1982--and led to the city's ultimate rebirth and triumph.

Salon founder David Talbot chronicles the cultural history of San Francisco and from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher from backwater city to thriving metropolis.

Author Notes

David Talbot is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He and his wife, Camille Peri, live with their two sons in San Francisco, California.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The liberation of San Francisco came with a price. Talbot presents the tempestuous years, from 1967 to 1982, as a new-versus-old battle for the city's soul. In an extensive history bursting with details and larger-than-life personalities, Talbot champions the outsiders, a human carnival from hippies to drag queens to activists, against the authorities representing the old, mainly Catholic, establishment. The extensive cast of characters includes Janis Joplin, Patty Hearst, Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and Bill Walsh. Talbot, who started the San Francisco-based web magazine Salon and previously wrote the bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years (2007), presents gripping accounts of both crime sprees and football showdowns. Even people who were there might take away something new, and for others, the book offers a comprehensive introduction to the era. Talbot believes modern San Francisco values have changed the world, and he explores the crucible of the transformation, in all its hope, violence, and glory.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Late 1960s San Francisco faced an identity crisis: conservative Irish values clashed with the breed of homegrown liberalism that had begun to spread nationwide. Covering 15 fraught years (1967-1982), journalist Talbot (Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years) reveals a community so hell-bent on inclusion that it inadvertently embraced evil. Exhaustive research yields penetrating character studies: the Summer of Love unfolds as Janis Joplin rose in her feathery boa; Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl narrowly escaped drug-related arrest; and a sparkle-dusted transvestite named Hibiscus revived drag shows. Talbot incisively relates the atmosphere of service in the Haight, populated with intrepid lawyers who defended revolutionaries, open-minded physicians who treated local drug addicts, and liberal clergymen who embraced teen runaways. With the homecoming of Vietnam veterans and an influx of amphetamines, however, the music scene fades as the city faces an outbreak of violence. Into a revolution "launched with the grandest intentions" slips Charles Manson, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the bomb-wielding New World Liberation Front, and Jim Jones's Flavor Aid carnage. In a surprising ending, Talbot convincingly suggests that imperfect new mayor Dianne Feinstein resurrected the city's heart as it rallied around the 49ers. In exhilarating fashion, Talbot clears the rainbow mist and brings San Francisco into sharp focus. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Prologue: Wild Irish Roguesp. 1
Part 1 Enchantmentp. 19
1 Saturday Afternoonp. 21
2 Dead Men Dancingp. 26
3 The Walled Cityp. 32
4 The Free Cityp. 36
5 The Lost Children of Windy Feetp. 42
6 Street Medicinep. 51
7 Murder on Shakedown Streetp. 60
8 The Napoleon of Rockp. 68
9 The Daily Circusp. 76
10 San Francisco's Morning Kissp. 84
11 Radio Free Americap. 90
12 The Palace of Golden Cocksp. 98
Part 2 Terrorp. 109
13 A Death in the Familyp. 111
14 Lucifer Risingp. 123
15 A Knife Down Your Throatp. 134
16 Benevolent Dictatorp. 144
17 Love's Last Standp. 156
18 Dungeons and Dragonsp. 169
19 The Revolution Will Be Televisedp. 180
20 Black and White and Red All Overp. 204
21 The Empress of Chinatownp. 224
22 San Francisco Satyriconp. 233
23 Civic Warp. 248
24 Inside Manp. 267
25 Slouching Toward San Franciscop. 275
26 Prophet of Doomp. 284
27 Exodusp. 290
28 Rapture in the Junglep. 298
29 The Reckoningp. 305
30 A Tale of Two Citiesp. 311
31 Day of the Gunp. 322
Part 3 Deliverancep. 337
32 Fire by Trialp. 339
33 The Center Holdsp. 350
34 Strange Angelsp. 358
35 Playing Against Godp. 376
36 The City of Saint Francisp. 387
Epiloguep. 405
Season of the Witch Playlistp. 407
Sourcesp. 409
Indexp. 429