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Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
THE BIGGEST EVENT IN ROCK ’N’ ROLL HISTORY IS BROUGHT VIVIDLY TO LIFE THROUGH ORIGINAL INTERVIEWS WITH ROGER DALTREY, JOAN BAEZ, DAVID CROSBY, RICHIE HAVENS, JOE COCKER, AND DOZENS OF HEADLINERS, ORGANIZERS, AND FANS. For America’s counterculture youth in 1969, Woodstock became a symbol of more than just sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll—it was about peace, love, a ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Touchstone (first published June 19th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Robert Cohen
Aug 28, 2013 Robert Cohen rated it it was amazing
For those of you who did not attend the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, but think you know what happened there because you saw the movie and listened to the soundtrack, forget it. You don't. For those of you who did attend Woodstock, and think you know what happened there, forget it. You were way too stoned to have any idea.

Pete Fornatale puts together a comprehensive play-by-play documentary account of Woodstock, featuring a cast of characters numbering over 100, most of whom are not even the act
...more
Dan Secor
Aug 28, 2016 Dan Secor rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a ride.

I've always felt that Woodstock was a key part of my life, even though I was too young to remember it actually happening. A month prior to the festival I lost the first close person in my life, my maternal grandmother, and the world was still buzzing about the first moon landing. At nine years old I was just starting to realize that the world was an unpredictable place, eventually becoming numb by watching the Vietnam Conflict play out on the evening news. Woodstock, as it turne
...more
Drew Lovern
Apr 20, 2015 Drew Lovern rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly Morey
Aug 18, 2009 Holly Morey rated it it was amazing
What a great book. For those of us who were not able to attend Woodstock this book gives us the inside scoop from the producers, performers and spectators. The numerous interviews give the reader an insight into the end of the 60's and early 70's. I think that this book may be more interesting to readers who are familiar with the music, but it is a fascinating perspective of a once in a lifetime event
Sandy
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it
Back in the late '60s, WNEW was the hippest rock station on the then-still-new FM dial, at least here in the NY tristate area, and it was propelled by a sextet of DJs who not only played music of their own liking, but had distinct and engaging on-air personalities as well. Those DJs were Rosko, Scott Muni, Alison Steele (all, sadly, passed on now), Zacherle, Jonathan Schwartz and--last but certainly not least--Pete Fornatale. These were the men and the woman who turned me on to so many pieces of ...more
Kelly
Jun 25, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing
I have always had a fascination with the legend that is Woodstock (the music festival, not Snoopy's little friend). How could all of the pieces fit together so magically as to make the perfect puzzle? How could a curly-haired, baby-faced, basically unknown producer get acts like the Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix to perform on Max Yasgur's farm in New York? How did a for-profit festival suddenly turn free?

Woodstock...just the name conjures mixed reviews. Many people claim to be there who we
...more
Carla
Sep 28, 2010 Carla rated it liked it
It was interesting to hear about so many behind-the-scenes aspects of the concert and the making of the movie, and because these experiences came right from people who were there and from the musicians, it's real and honest and highly entertaining.

While I thought it was neat to read transcriptions of interviews from a rock radio legend, it was also a format that I found a bit annoying to follow at times. There was a lot of repetition within chapters, as well as very unnecessary prose (since it's
...more
Shannon
Jan 02, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it
Reading "Back to the Garden" was such a mind blowing experince. You felt as if you really attended Woodstock. However, it is a book and Woodstock was the past, but can still remain in our hearts. The book was set up into four parts. The four parts were the different days of the festival, which was Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Then each chapter consisted of a different band that played. I absolutley loved how the book was set up and also how it was written.
Since this book is more the h
...more
Tahleen
Jul 07, 2009 Tahleen rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book was definitely worth reading; I learned so much about Woodstock and all of the performers who made it there, as well as a few who didn't. The greatest thing about this book is that it's mostly comprised of interviews from people who were there--performers, tech guys, organizers, and audience members, as well as the dudes who made the epic Woodstock documentary. It was really interesting to me, especially because it was such a one-time thing--I don't think there could ever be another ev ...more
Gwen
Mar 12, 2015 Gwen rated it it was amazing
Back to the Garden is not only a book about the Woodstock music festival, but about some of the after effects of the festival. The author takes the reader through the festival beginning with the first act to perform on the first day and taking the reader chronologically through the last to perform on the last day. The story in the main is told by interview responses from both performers and persons involved with the festival or those performers. I enjoyed the insights into the performers and per ...more
Heather Downs
I've read a couple of books about Woodstock; notably "Taking Woodstock" (great movie - interesting book) and Michael Lang's book. Assumed that I knew most of what happened that weekend. Surprisingly, there was some new information in Fornatale's book. However, I didn't care for his writing style. He tended to use long quotes to explain the events. It would have been nice to read a cohesive narrative. I recommend reading it if you have a serious interest in those 3 days of peace and music!
F.C. Etier
Aug 20, 2010 F.C. Etier rated it really liked it
Quick! Name the group whose 1969 album sold over three million copies, had three hit singles that each went to #2 on the charts, and won the 1970 Grammy for “Album of the Year” over the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Need a hint? They also performed at Woodstock.

Read my entire review at:

http://blogcritics.org/books/article/...
Emily
Dec 01, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been interested in the Woodstock Generation (not to mention the music and the 'flower power' generation), and I've seen the movie and heard the stories but this was such a more intimate view on each artists own person experience of Woodstock, I highly suggest reading it if you're interested in the little stories they have.
Catherine
Jun 06, 2010 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Consists mostly of interviews with musicians, media, fans, and the organizers of Woodstock, connected by commentary from the author. Presented in chapters chronologically by the groups that performed, which was an effective way to let the reader experience it. Interesting, but the author (a NY d.j.) doesn't write that well, and there was a lot of repetition that the editor should have slashed.
Shenanitims
Feb 13, 2012 Shenanitims rated it liked it
I think your enjoyment of this book will be proportional to how much you enjoy the bands talked about within. Unfortunately the most iconic performers (Hendrix, Joplin, etc.) are dead, making them unable to participate in the discussion. I didn't realize how large an effect the film had after the festival. Has its points.
GraceAnne
Sep 01, 2011 GraceAnne rated it liked it
I was not at Woodstock (I had a four-month-old at the time) but my younger twin brothers were. Fornatale makes a very nicely done history of those three days of peace, love, and mud, arranged by day and by artist, with many quotes and his own lively, lucid, and occasionally quite funny commentary tying it all together. Groovy.
Jason
Apr 09, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
This book was a fantastic look into not only the event but also the planning, and the stories of the artist's and some of their personal accounts. The recounting of the artist's stories told a side of Woodstock that I feel is rarely addressed in other media about the event. A "must read" for anyone who is interested in Woodstock or that era in general.
Mike Mages
Aug 10, 2012 Mike Mages rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Saw this book when I went up to Bethel, NY to see the Woodstock museum and ended up buying it when I got home. Great read, however, it does become a pain to flip back to the "Whose Who" section at the beginning.
David Ward
Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock by Pete Fornatale (Touchstone Books 2009)(781.66079). Summaries of each performance and interviews with each of the performers at Woodstock. My rating: 6.5, finished 2009.
Lew Rose
Dec 19, 2010 Lew Rose rated it liked it
I grew up listening to Mr. Fornatele on the radio so I readily bought this book. I enjoyed it a lot.
Daniel
Dec 04, 2012 Daniel rated it it was ok
I learned some new things about Woodstock, but mostly this book is a compilation of other people's interviews, sewn together with less-than-compelling narration.
Lydia
Sep 16, 2010 Lydia rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. Listening to the different perspectives of the people involved (through interviews) was entertaining and informative.
Dean Pelligra
Aug 20, 2013 Dean Pelligra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How great to read about the most important event in rock history from one of the masters of FM radio. Thank you Pete--we miss you!
Wendy
Jul 18, 2012 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Loved it...but I wanted to be there.
Gianna
Gianna rated it really liked it
May 28, 2012
Tamara Blair
Tamara Blair rated it liked it
Sep 04, 2013
Izelea Izham
Izelea Izham rated it really liked it
Nov 12, 2013
Stephany Torres
Stephany Torres rated it it was ok
Apr 06, 2013
Jill Sena
Jill Sena rated it it was amazing
Apr 06, 2016
Stephen Popenfoose
Stephen Popenfoose rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2016
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Peter "Pete" Fornatale (August 23, 1945 – April 26, 2012) was a New York City disc jockey and author of numerous books on rock and roll. He is considered a "pioneer of FM rock, who played an important role in the progressive rock era of FM broadcasting. He was the first person to host a rock music show on New York City's FM band, commencing November 21, 1964 on WFUV. By broadcasting progressive ro ...more
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