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This Is Burning Man
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This Is Burning Man

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Doherty provides detailed information on the outrageous festival---its inception, history, growth, and players--for the hundreds of thousands who have attended, as well as those who only wish they had.
ebook, 0 pages
Published September 3rd 2007 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 391)
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Katie
wow. after 6 years on the playa i thought i knew a lot about burning man ~ but reading this really deepened my understanding of the history & nature of the event. i finished it right before i went this year and it definitely improved my experience. i know this sounds like a quote from the back of the book cover, but it really is a must-read for anyone who calls themselves a burner.
Bobby
An interesting overview of Burning Man's history and some of the famous/infamous personalities behind the famous arts festival. The book is full of engaging stories and anecdotes but unfortunately is not able to tie them together to present any sort of a coherent "big picture" (the book is divided into sections and chapters but these don't help much).
Also, the author started out by adopting a more-or-less neutral journalist perspective but towards the end had more of a preachy tone...which was
...more
Steve
This book made me want to go even more! I have heard so many opinions of what Burning Man is. I have been told you don't want to go there. I have been told it's a place of drugs, sex and rock and roll in the worst way. Whatever; I usually hear this from people who think they are experts who have never been there and some of the best experiences of my life are in situations so described.

I think Doherty summed it up in quoting TS Eliot, Choruses from the Rock:

The desert is not remote in southern t
...more
Curtis Butturff
Well written if somewhat Haigistic biography of an event if such a thing is possible. I'll weigh in after I absorb a bit more of it. One oddity I'd point out having covered the first 50-100 pages is not one mention of hallucinogens or such. Another point is that while Doherty is a past attendee and promoter of the festival, in writing the book about his time there he does break a code of sorts. That being the rules against profiteering (freeconomy). Of course he'd have had to open source the boo ...more
Paul
Burning Man is the arts/creativity/freedom/whatever festival held every September in the Nevada desert.

It started in 1980s San Francisco, in part as a reaction to Ronald Reagan’s America. A man named Larry Harvey and some friends gathered on a San Francisco nude beach to burn a wooden effigy of a man (for no especially good reason). The event was "adopted" by various California punk and arts groups, like the L.A. Cacophony Society, and soon grew too big for the nude beach. A home was found deep
...more
Julie
If you've never been to Burning Man, you can't really know what it is, or what it means to Burners. Even if you do go, if you don't get bitten by the bug, you'll just think the rest of us are crazy. But for some of us, it's a wonderful, transformative experience that's beyond the ability of words to express.

Since 1996 I have considered myself a proud citizen of Black Rock City, although it's been more than a few years since I've been able to afford the tickets. "This is Burning Man" brought it a
...more
David Ward
This Is Burning Man: the Rise of a New American Underground by Brian Doherty (Little, Brown, & Co. 2004) (394.25). This is a book about the annual week-long new-age / new-wave festival in the Nevada desert. Mind-blowing art installations, music, and the latest editions of chemical inebriants are all on hand to weave into an unforgettable experience. Join “the Burners” for their one-of-a-kind celebration! My rating: 7/10, finished 1/21/15.
Kevin
This book is an in depth telling of the history of Burning Man, in all its humor, insanity, tragedy, magic, love, horror, and awe. I could easily identify with the roller coaster of emotions and enigmas of experience. The only place I have ever been in the world that I could simultaneously despise and adore on that level was Bangkok, and in many ways, going to Burning Man was like that trip. Except that rather than a foreigh country, I ended up on another planet. Doherty connects in a very visce ...more
Matthew
I'm a Burner and didn't like the idea of someone writing about Burning Man. I didn't read it for a long time, after it was lent to me. I feared it would either be someone who only reported on it and didn't actually experience it OR that it would be a Burner who would not be able to write objectively and would only gush obsessively and exclusively. But Doherty is neither. He experienced Burning Man, at least a few times, and is still able to report objectively. He presents a history, personal acc ...more
Jeremy Keeshin
I really enjoyed this book on Burning Man. I read it before going, and while it is an event that is really hard to characterize, I thought the author did a good job portraying the event and the ideas surrounding it. Additionally, I thought another impressive part of the book was that it was balanced--it was clearly written by a Burning Man fan and a guy that had been going for a while, but it presented both praise and criticism of the event in a very reasonable way. I thought as a historical ref ...more
writegeist
For someone who has been intrigued for year by the phenomenon known as Burning Man, this is an excellent way to at least gain a little understanding of what it could be all about. The full experience of playa with its atmosphere of otherwordliness could never be emulated in book form. But for someone who probably will never go, at least I get a chance to listen in on the conversations of the people who have been changed by this amazing event.
Ruth
The beginning went through every detail of how burning man began- a little boring- but the part where they talked about the art was pretty inspiring. I just love thinking and reading about really big participatory art. Also the "temporary autonomous zone" idea is exciting- it takes me back to reading Hakim Bey in the High school cafeteria, and is still inspiring. The writing is not anything special, but the content makes it worth it.
mac
This is a great chronological perspective of the event and culture surrounding Burningman, written by a participant. It ties together much of the what happened in San Francisco and in the life of Larry Harvey & other organizers to create the event that continues to this day. An interesting read even for people that have not attended the event, but are intereted in San Francisco and the movements of this city.
Deb
This was an interesting look into a ritual that I hadn't really heard about. I was familiar with the image of The Burning Man but didn't realize just what the event was about. It was a bit difficult to get through at times due to the detailed explanations of the relationships of the originators.

I would recommend it to someone interested in the festival.
Sarah
Confirms that Burning Man is different things to different people, and even the "founders" disagree on what it should mean, or whether it should and does mean anything at all. This frees me to feel as unchanged by it as I felt, except for the radical change that must have occurred given that I would consider going again.
Adam
a great glimpse at the event's early years and growth over time. first-hand accounts from integral characters who helped shape the event from the beginning. covers many POVs towards the event, from evangelists to ultra-cynics. f-in hysterical to anyone who has been or wants to go to that thing in the desert.
Trey Jackson
Thoroughly enjoyed it, it does a good job at going over the contentious history and describing the elusive nature of the event. Learned a lot of stuff about the earlier days I didn't know, and it gave me a warm feeling when my personal memories intersected the book's narrative. Recommended.
Susan
I know Brian, and like his work. He's a very dedicated writer, and is also a Burning Man participant and has been for years. He's also very supportive of other events, is a lover of art and absurd revelry, and knowing those things made this read extra fun for me.
Erica
Aug 23, 2007 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crazy types
Is there a sexier image than two people, having sex while driving an old convertible, squealing across miles and miles of open, dark, barren desert while shooting firearms? I don't think so.
Bullfrog
Oct 03, 2008 Bullfrog rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Bullfrog by: Erica
This book is a wonderful depiction of my favorite event! Real stories from real burners. A great chronological breakdown of BM's history as well!
Christina Lenon
LOVE THIS BOOK! Probably best to read AFTER you attend the "event" cause it'll make more sense... just finished it, and now I've got an after-burn:(
Spencer
Pretty fun and eccentric literature. Really makes me want to take a trip down to the Black Rock Playa and discover its wonders myself.
jeremy
great look into the 10 day adventure, and the sinple exsistence that is the burn..
Cherie
C Eh. Into the background of BM, how it got started, not exactly the best writing...
Megan
Fascinating so far, I want to learn more (hence why I'm reading the book).
Paul
Fun book. Makes me wish I had gone to BM in the early or mid 90's.
Erin
Aug 13, 2008 Erin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I've been fascinated by Burning Man since I first heard about it...
Rick Yribe
If you have any interest at all in Burning Man, read this.
Suzq!
sort of interesting - but you have to really care.
Mandarine
anarchy, art, culture, libertarian, politics, sociology
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“We bring light to unite the boulevards of Black Rock City: the light of civilization, navigation, and celebration. In honor of the immensity of the desert and the immensity of our dreams and visions, we hang our lamps high.” 0 likes
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