A half a century ago thousands of young people descended on San Francisco, Venice Beach, Ca., and other centers of one of the great counter-culture movements in history. It was in a time of a great war that seemed to go on forever,  racial strife all over America, and lying politicians and corporate leaders. In short, not that much different than today. It was also a time of the flowering of the arts, especially music and poetry. Here are two books that celebrate that time.

Freedom Bird
By Allan Cole & Chris Bunch

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DURING THE VIETNAM WAR, GIs who managed to survive their tour of duty in one piece—more or less—were flown home in chartered airliners. They called those planes “Freedom Birds.” This is the story of three young men—from wildly different backgrounds—who meet on such a plane and make a pact to spend three days together in San Francisco. Their goal: to spend every cent of their mustering out money in a party of a lifetime. And they’ll get more than they bargained for: because when they land, it is July 1967—in a time that would come to be known as “The Summer of Love.” It’s a place and time where each young man will have to confront the ghosts who followed him home from the jungles of Vietnam and contemplate a future none of them had imagined.  

Tales Of The Blue Meanie

By Allan Cole 

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In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place "Pepperland," after the Beatles movie, "Yellow Submarine." Threatening this paradise is'The Blue Meanie, a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.