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Question: recommend a book about living in a commune

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 16 Aug 2009 09:04 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 9:04 am UTC 

I'm interested in reading a book about what it was like to live in one of the many hippie, back-to-the-land type communes that sprang up in the 60's.  (Not necessarily a cult commune.)  I'm having difficulty finding something good on Amazon.

Preferably a commune that came to disaster.  I'm interested in economics, so my assumption is that sharing everything would not be socially viable over a long period of time.


David Sarokin 


 16 Aug 2009 13:58 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 1:58 pm UTC 


Is this sort of thing useful:

60's Communes

It sounds more encylcopedic than dramatic story-telling, but it seems to cover a very wide range of activities. 

If that's not what you're after, give us a bit more of a sense of what would do the trick.




David Sarokin 


 16 Aug 2009 13:59 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 1:59 pm UTC 

P.S.  If you're registered at Amazon, you can click on the book image to see much of the inside contents.




 16 Aug 2009 15:14 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 3:14 pm UTC 

Well, the closest I was able to find on Amazon were this and this:



but it just seems like there should be something . . . well, these are of recent vintage.  Aren't there more established books in the field?  You know, classics that everybody but me knows about?

Actually Amazon was helpful, but most of its recommendations drifted off into hippie memoirs . . . I guess I'm looking specifically for a first-person account of the collapse of a commune.


Clara Horvath 


 16 Aug 2009 19:47 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 7:47 pm UTC 


Communes have been around for a lot longer than the 60s. They're still around. Here's an article that gives a pretty good overview of current trends.

Thriving communes no haven for 'deadbeats'

You say you're making the assumption that "sharing everything would not be socially viable over a long period of time." Are you open to exploring the possibility that your assumptions may not be accurate for all communes?

You might get more relevant information about what's happening today by investigating "intentional communities."

Would you be interested in more general studies of communes, not just first-person accounts of a collapse. These seem to be memoirs that you said don't meet your needs.


Clara aka ~czh~


Clara Horvath 


 16 Aug 2009 20:12 UTCSun 16 Aug 2009 - 8:12 pm UTC 

Not a book, but an interesting "failed commune" story.

Political Economy: Commune to Close, After Years of Strife and Striving

Love Family
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Love Family, or the Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon, was a U.S. communal religious movement led by Paul Erdman, who named himself Love Israel. The Love Family began in 1968 as one small communal household on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, and within the first ten years expanded to a network of communal homes and businesses. As more people arrived and settled in the surrounding neighborhood, Erdman, as the leader, continued to inherit land and homes (from those who joined, primarily)in other, more rural areas of Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Most of the property is no longer under the control of Erdman, having been sold or returned to the original owners via litigation.


David Sarokin 


 17 Aug 2009 02:11 UTCMon 17 Aug 2009 - 2:11 am UTC 

Also not a book, but a fairly in-depth article from the 1970 issue of Ebony magazine (article begins on pg 88):

Life on a Hippie Commune




 17 Aug 2009 03:32 UTCMon 17 Aug 2009 - 3:32 am UTC 

The Ebony article was satisfying.

This was also interesting, about a 1971 attempt to realize "Walden Two."

Yes, I am open to communes that actually worked, although I am just reading this for pleasure, so I supposes I would find it most satisfying to see a commune collapse because of naivety.  Nothing more enjoyable than being able to say "I told you so!"




 17 Aug 2009 09:04 UTCMon 17 Aug 2009 - 9:04 am UTC 

Perhaps some of the titles and links mentioned on

could be interesting.




 17 Aug 2009 14:25 UTCMon 17 Aug 2009 - 2:25 pm UTC 

Thanks for your help everybody.  Wealth of material available here.


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