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Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  283 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Peter Coyote's compelling memoir traces the anarchic West Coast counterculture of the sixties and seventies through the political street theater of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the revolutionary economic theories of the Diggers, and the chaotic encampments of the extended Free Family of hippies and activists. Coyote offers blunt, affectionate, and often comic portraits o ...more
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by Counterpoint LLC (first published December 12th 1941)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 656)
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Susan
Dec 06, 2008 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Coyote is an actor now, but back in the day, he was a member of the San Francisco diggers community. His dad Morris was from rough, East-side, Jewish NYC, later a plutocrat financier. According to this narrative, in 1970, while visiting Peter, Morris said:“Capitalism is dying, boy. It’s dying of its own internal contradictions. You think the revolution’s gonna take 5 years? It’s gonna take fifty! So keep your head down and hang in for the long haul, because I’ll tell you something. The son ...more
Tuck
Aug 28, 2012 Tuck rated it it was amazing
really great auto bio of fellow that was in the thick of it in 1960's and 70's "revolutionary" movements in usa. so, diggers, san francisco mime, olema in califa and other communes in colorado (drop city) and new mexico communes, be-in's and teach-in's with ginsberg (and ginsburg too) then hollywood and indie films, then mainstream documentaries and indie documentaries. very well written, documented, and fair look back at hippies and what was accomplished and how that is manifested in late 20th ...more
Ed Eleazer
Jun 22, 2012 Ed Eleazer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know what the Counter Culture was really all about, read this memoir. Yes, drugs were ingested, people had premarital sex. That's not what the Revolution was about. Not all of us Counter Culturistas took drugs, but we did buy into the peace, love, and understanding mantra and worldview. We also did not trust anyone who might be a part of the Establishment, unlike today, where Americans fall all over themselves to be raked over by plutocrats, day traders, bankers, and financial "ex ...more
Rachel Hope Miranda
Peter Coyote’s Sleeping Where I Fall was the first autobiography / non fiction I ever read. After being fascinated with the era, I convinced my mother to purchase not only history and fact books, but also fictions and non-fictions from the time period. What I found appealing about Coyote’s words was their bluntness. While many autobiography’s and non fiction novels feature people using words that seem to connote apology or regret, Coyote’s did not. Instead he was blunt with his words and feeling ...more
P.J. Morse
Dec 29, 2012 P.J. Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sleeping Where I Fall" is a blunt, honest work about people who lived the ideals of the 60s. The Diggers and the Free Family weren't into empty rhetoric. They lived what they said, and Peter Coyote provides all the details. For anyone dreaming of commune life, be warned: Communal living is hard, especially if drugs are involved.

If you are interested in San Francisco or West Coast history, you will enjoy this book. The downside is that sometimes Coyote repeats himself, and his editor doesn't sto
...more
Derek Slater
Mar 29, 2014 Derek Slater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd just like to say IRT some of the (rare) negative reviews who mention the author's air of superiority -

Coyote mostly presents his world view *as it happened*.

So you have to stick with the book to get to the point where he realizes, 'we had all these grand notions about remaking the world, but here I am a broke junkie with hepatitis and two kids by two moms - maybe I'm not such a genius after all.'

Reader, if you "drop out" of the book (heh) based on your preferences or judgments before then,
...more
Dave
Feb 24, 2013 Dave rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You would think this would've been an interesting book and a chance to gain insight on the idealistic Bay Area hippie scene of the 60's.

But it was surprisingly painful to read. On TV and in the movies Coyote seems like a likable, open-minded kind of guy. But in this memoir Coyote seems to want to justify a lot of some really bad and irresponsible behavior with a lot of really loony pseudo-intellectual ideological B.S. Though he tries over eagerly to impress with the supposed creativity and intel
...more
Sara
Jan 24, 2014 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always like Peter Coyote as an actor; he has a beautiful voice which is easily recognizable in many documentaries, and I recognize and admire his talent and apparent intelligence. I was surprised to read of his radical youth, amazed at his many adventures and impressed by his intelligent approach to his craft (acting), as well as his politics. Unfortunately, in spite of being a well written account of his life, he comes off sounding pretentious, pompous, and self-congratulatory. I'm not sur ...more
Meredith
I agree with all the comments I just now took time to read here, both positives and negatives. Speaking for myself, I read this book for two reasons:

(1) Personal associations: I know Peter Coyote's sister, I like watching him on the screen, and I didn't even know or remember he had written this book until I recently read that he has a new book coming out. If I was going to read that book, also a memoir, I figured I should read his first book.

(2) Personal history: I was coming of age in the 1960
...more
Lydia
Mar 23, 2014 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to like this book so much. Peter Coyote writes wisely and patiently about his younger self and the other Diggers/ Free Family members and about the limitless sense of counterculture possibility and power in the late 1960s. While he's frank about his missteps, he doesn't make excuses, nor does he judge too harshly; he thoughtfully assesses the weaknesses in their worldview: excessive drug use, sexism, indulgence, and the erroneous conflation of order/peace with uniformly hated con ...more
Tommy /|\
Apr 18, 2013 Tommy /|\ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Coyote documents both the time he spent in the counter-culture communities of the Diggers and the Free Family -- as well as the colorful, endearing, and sometimes contradictory individuals that traveled along that Path with him. The book also documents some of the successes and failures of the intentional communities he helped organize and participate within. While some may consider much of the book as a cautionary tale about drug usage and free-sex...that doesn't seem to be the case to me ...more
Corey
May 15, 2013 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this marvelous memoir of the radical 1960s this morning and I am feeling moved and touched and happy. The author is best known now as an actor in such movies as "E.T." and "Northfork," but, before that, he was a member of the anarchistic San Francisco group, The Diggers, and later the instigator of a number of Utopian communes. Coyote was there and, better than that, he has the great storyteller's ability to put you there, also. His stories are important stories and his lessons import ...more
Anderse
Apr 03, 2009 Anderse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed the book, I was reading it primarily for the Black Bear Ranch part and wasn't too into his Mime Troupe days or scamming "the man" who tried to arrest them on various campuses or the 500 mini communities he lived in or that he knew the Dead or how to fix a truck.

What I disliked most was an attitude of superiority that he comes from as if he and his friends had figured it all out and the rest of the world was/is fools. This quote that best sums up what I disliked about the book an
...more
Marcena
Jan 03, 2016 Marcena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a college course and while it was perfect material for the class it also connected with me on a personal level. For me this was a book that has stuck with me and taught me more things about society and myself than I expected. It is well written and as you're reading you can't help but feel that he is being raw and honest. If you're a counter culture history buff it is certainly worth reading.
Sally
Jun 30, 2015 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and recommended it. It is a story of trying to create a life that rejects the rules and expectations of the American culture of the late 60s and early 70s, and the ultimate realization that you cannot base a community on the rejection of all rules, because a community must have a social structure.

Despite the author's frequent protestations, I think they did not successfully acknowledge and reject the gender norms of the time.

Despite frequent references to drug/sex excesses,
...more
Sarajennifer
This is a memoir of Peter Coyote's time with the Diggers in SF and other communes in which he took part. It is an honest chronicle of that era and the mind set of the adults who bravely went forward to create a new paradigm. While he clearly reveres the independent spirit of the times, he also acknowledges the extremes that were not always productive.
Not much literature is written accurately about this era. Bravo to Peter Coyote for putting his experiences out there and creating a record of tru
...more
Jodie
Sep 21, 2008 Jodie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As memoirs go - the reader can only hope that the author has lived an interesting life and has spent some time in reflection, and can articulate the journey. Peter Coyote is a gold medal winner in all three of my memoir categories. He was part of the the improvisational mime troupe that helped form the Diggers and the Free Family in SF in the 60s, then lived in Olema (!) where he finally ran afoul of the Hells Angels, whose leader he had befriended in the city. He tells the stories of daily comm ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Drugs and excess.
Deidre
Nov 03, 2014 Deidre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Amazing. No other book I have read on the 70s counterculture brings so many of the pieces & various groups that shaped the times together. Hells Angels, Diggers, Communes, San Fran Theater, the music, the politics, the mindset are all lovingly described by the man who was there. Though Coyote slept with Janis Joplin etc, he recounts his story not from a place of fame but rather by one who hopes to get a better understanding by looking back at what they were trying to achieve & admitting ...more
Marie
Aug 07, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderfully written autobiography, the main focus being on Coyote's time in the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Diggers, and time spent on various communes. His writing is flowing without being flowery, and anecdotal without being braggy. His writing of his past is done in a rare way--it is rich and vibrant, but lacks the overly nostalgic rose-coloured glasses approach seen in many other autobios.
Lisa Reitz
I enjoyed this book, the stories that piece together the counter-culture that took place in the 60's were engaging, meaningful, and memorable. Coyote's over-linguistic descriptions did get in my way of enjoying this book more. Also, the first half or more of the book was chronologically amiss.

Coyote's afterward was poetic.
Kathie
Sep 11, 2011 Kathie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Interesting account of "doing the 60s" by a resident of the front lines of the counterculture. Even though this lifestyle and its so-called anarchy seem so far removed from real life now as to have occurred on another planet, it's good that this period is chronicled for those who weren't there.



Sandra
Dec 18, 2011 Sandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I couldn't finish the book. It was interesting up to a point, and there were some good thoughts; but I got bored with it about halfway through. I wasn't part of the California hippy scene, so I couldn't relate; but I am sure those who grew up in California would find it entertaining.
Karen
Feb 15, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Coyote is a fascinating guy, this was a very interesting book about his life during the 60"s when he help found and lived and worked on the country's "most successful hippie commune"
Sarkastodon
Dec 05, 2008 Sarkastodon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The guy can write, and his life story contained in this book is engrossing. But was he a true anarchist? Fuck no he wasn't. Is he an egoist? Sure, but read the book anyways if you like stories about the 60s.
Amy Arsenault
Didn't technically finish but I only had about thirty pages left. Kind of redundant and not very memorable due to the redundancy. I had high hopes for this one too. Oh well.
Joe
Aug 06, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this a while ago. I remember enjoying it thoroughly. I also remember long, rambling paragraphs that seemed to never end. 4 Stars from memory.
MaryAnne Davis
Jul 10, 2009 MaryAnne Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazingly personal perspective of the heart of the 60's. Haight Ashbery, the Diggers, the Hell's Angels and a scathing review of Easy Rider.
Barbara
Oct 12, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most autobiographies from celebrities, this has more name-dropping than entirely necessary, but I could relate to the times...
Janet
Jan 03, 2009 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Think I read this shortly after it was published. Some interesting contemporary history, a little plodding at times. glad to have read it
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Ordained practitioner of Zen Buddhism, activist, and actor, Peter Coyote began his work in street theater and political organizing in San Francisco. In addition to acting in 120 films, Coyote has won an Emmy for narrating the award-winning documentary Pacific Century, and he has cowritten, directed, and performed in the play Olive Pits, which won The Mime Troupe an Obie Award. He lives in Mill Val ...more
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“Hindsight has taught me that there is a ravenous, invisible twin haunting each of us. Despite “good works” and selfless sacrifice for noble causes, without unremitting vigilance, even tiny indulgences will betray high aims and deflect nourishment to this parasitic companion. Unfortunately, not even hindsight frees us from the consequences of such indulgence. Emmett” 0 likes
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