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The author of this book dropped out in 1970 at age thirty three, after an early life in Oroville, California, then worked for IBM and the State of California. His rural background and enquiring mind brought him to adopt the spirituality of the East and the consciousness of the Tao and Zen. Strongly influenced by the Beat Generation and later the early hippies he embraced the movement, seeing it as the confirmation of Gary Snyder's prediction (under the pseudonym Japhy Rider in 'The Dharma Bums' by Jack Kerouac) of a 'Rucksack Revolution'. This consciousness and his relatively old age at thirty three, are the philosophical perspectives from which this book emerged. Originally it was to be reminiscences of incidents that occurred during the fifteen years spent living with the hippies, without income or transportation in semi-lawless environments of southern Oregon and British Columbia, during the magic period of 1970 to 1985. Rural hippiedom during this period has not been much chronicled . The stories mostly take place in Takilma Oregon for the first five years then ten years on Lasqueti Island in British Columbia. The stories were written down over a period of almost twenty years. Whenever time or inspiration took over. Since law enforcement hadn't penetrated too well in Takilma, most of the residents had to pretty much take care of themselves while being harassed by poverty, police, vigilantes and local businesses that wouldn't sell to hippies. They got their fun where they found it and find it they did. After several years the author began to see the Dharma begin to leave the community and he decided to find greener pastures where he could be more self-sufficient, and immigrated (illegally) to Canada and lived hand to mouth for ten years. He lived on an island with no car ferry, and the foot ferry only ran five days a week. There was no electricity on the island, creating a very wonderful society. The author would have been quite happy to just chronicle the age with minimal personal participation but was shamed into writing a backs story to make it semi-autobiographical.
The book is available on-line in either print or E-book from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and on order from your local book store. Author Page http://amazon.com/author/hippietales
Two other books on the immigration to the BC coast are "Accidental Eden", more stories about Lasqueti Island and "Gumboot Girls" written by the young women who moved to the Queen Charlotte Islands during the same time period. Susanne Kindi Fahrnkopf wrote a book about Talilma "Takilma Tales"
Here are the reviews I have gotten so far. Admittedly several of them are from friends and family. However, many friends and family have enjoyed the book and not rated it, so if anyone feels the urge to submit a positive review it is greatly appreciated. If you don't like it don't bother. I guess it's all show biz and being famous.
Harrison's new book, Hippie Tales of the Northwest Woods, could be a shock
to those who kept several arm's length from the
"counter-culture" that developed through the 60's and 70's.
As well as a movement inspired by people who had a vision of a society
greater than the current paradigm, this group included many who by virtue
of their shortcomings or mistaken choices, had nowhere else to go but into
the woods. In a totally entertaining and hilarious fashion, Bob makes this
point well by his observations of the way the lifestyle and cultural
attitudes were changed by deep descent into drugs like LSD. It was not a
status quo drug, like ecstasy, which came later. It broke down the
social fabric that had been woven for centuries, essentially nearly
permanently de-socializing a good percentage of youth in America and
elsewhere. These changes became so pervasive, one begins to wonder if
Bob's adventurous cat, Lucy, had ingested something similar.Through this
long and torturous arc of a life that Bob experienced on the northern West
Coast, he maintained enough equanimity and moral compass to live through
it long enough to chronicle the experience for those of us
interested in a very unusual life. For those of us who lived though that
era trying to do things in a radically different way from our parents, it
is a must read. For the rest of you, it is still amusing in a way
that will leave you
Bob "Buckwheat" Harrison is a genuine story teller...spellbinding and authentic in sharing his life in the Pacific Northwest woods as a 'back to the earth' hippie during the 1970-'80s. buckwheat resists putting meaning to the hippie period, although he is well equipped to do so, but rather paints a clear and fascinating picture of mountain hippie life through sharing his stories from 15 years living in Oregon and Lasqueti Island, Canada, and how he and others survived and thrived, lived and loved, dealt with the law, adversity, poverty, and one another. Despite living without electricity, potable running water, a vehicle, or legal residence, the reader comes to understand that Buckwheat fared well during those 15 years. Buckwheat eventually assimilated into mainstream society but true to his character, on his terms. This is a 'must read' for those wanting to relive their own experiences from that fabulous period, and for the curious who want to learn more of the 'back to the earth' hippie movement through Buckwheat Bob's experiences. I believe those more familiar with 'city hippies' will find this book fascinating, and it will be hard not to compare their experiences with Buckwheat's. I am proud to call Buckwheat Bob my friend of over 74 years.
book blew my mind. In many ways, it's a historical document of that
movement in Southern Oregon/Northern Ca that is totally undocumented in
American history. There are priceless stories...this book needs to capture
the attention of scholars of this era, which there are none. My favorite
story is the Gunsmoke one! Are you kidding me...hippies on that show..high...inviting
Matt Dillon to a Rainbow Gathering....this might be the best Oregon story
I've ever heard. Liked your riff on Vortex too....McCall was
something else. A Republican no less!
Matt Love, author of Vortex 1 and a number of other Oregon based books. He is the force behind Nestucca Spit Press, devoted to Oregon literature and art http://nestuccaspitpress.com/
Awesome Awsome book! I enjoyed this very much! I wish I had the courage to walk in this guy's shoes for even a day. And I found the Gunsmoke episode he mentions. (can't tell ya). Well written and intelligent, give it a read.
Great stories! Buckwheat does a great job relating the sub-culture of the hippie era.
I was a kid of 22, I met Buckwheat when some city hippie friends of mine
took me to Takilma with them. We had all the sense of puppies and none of a
dog's hardiness, and to us Buckwheat looked like the wisest man in the
world. He tolerated us getting stoned, eating his food, and making fools of
ourselves while he chopped firewood and tended the stove. I squatted at his
place in the woods, and for some reason he took me under his wing and taught
me the difference between pipe dreams and actually living independently. We
visited isolated families in cabins along the Illinois River, singing Woody
Guthrie tunes and enjoying the warmth of wood fires and conversation; for me
it was a "get back on the land and I'm gonna try and set my soul
free" fantasy come true.
-Perry R. Callas
expect this book to be giddy fluff. The prologue is telling you that you are
being introduced to an excellent writer. This is the autobiography of a
modern day mountain man. The hippie lifestyle was another dimension of that
basic theme. I got this book as a gift, but would willingly have purchased
it had I known it would be so good, and may yet for gifts. I usually read
other genres for their excellent writing. This compares or excels my usual
authors. A really good read. I do recommend it.
If Y'all haven't checked it out yet,Buckwheat Bob's new book 'Hippie Tales of the Northwest Woods' is a fine, rollicking read...I've been soaking it in during long hot baths (to try and kick this cold) and I find myself right there with him crossing choppy waters in overweight skiffs, picking tunes in cowboy bars and smoking the exotic with a bunch of gun toting redneck hippies...if you ever wondered what 'Dropping Out' was really like in the late 60's and 70's, you'll get a really good slice of it here--and you'll learn how to make beer and 99 other unique 'Survival' tips...Check it out if you can!!
Hippy Tales reflect a period when people were free to experiment, explore and seek answers outside the constraints of every day society. Bob's story tells a story of reflection and hope for humanity. He has taken us on 15 year walk, told as seen through the eyes of a participant in a unique period of time. I often wished I'd had the nerve to take the risk. An excellent read for those who can see beyond the edges of conformity. Take a chance, explore, get to know someone who dared.
"Buckwheat" Bob Harrison writes articulately of the loosely grouped hippie communities of Northern California, southwest Oregon and the British Columbia coast. His stories look with the confidence of an engineer at how with creativity and hard work, he and his family members lived independently of regulated society. Without proclaiming the politics of his decisions, Harrison is humorous and graceful about dropping out of the mainstream and dropping in to society with several people who have their own reasons for dropping out. I would have liked to hear his music at the bars and pubs where he entertained some years to make enough to get through the winters. The seasonal struggles come through this treasure trove of stories of living very close to the land. Also, without self-conscious introspection. Harrison deftly draws his family arrangements clearly enough to spark my curiosity of what his partners' stories would have shared. I enjoyed the journey.
I sent a copy of the book to Tom Russell, the greatest thinker and artist of our time. I received this message from him and I'm proud of his acceptance. Like most true artists he doesn't suffer fools. His quality and volume of work totally mystifies me. He is an inspiration and I strongly recommend him to everyone who is interested in this book.