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Counterculture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  159 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
As long as there has been culture, there has been counterculture. At times it moves deep below the surface of things, a stealth mode of being all but invisible to the dominant paradigm; at other times it’s in plain sight, challenging the status quo; and at still other times it erupts in a fiery burst of creative–or destructive–energy to change the world forever.

But until
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 2nd 2004 by Villard
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Thomas Hale
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pretty cool history book, summarising 2500 years of world history through the lens of exploring groups and ideologies that rejected the status quo of their times. Touching on movements such as Taoism, the Transcendentalists and Sufism - and making some effort to connect them with a common thread - means that Goffman and Joy offer some really nice pieces of social history. There are some flaws with the book's scope (necessarily, as Goffman describes in the introduction), as toward the 20th Cent ...more
Philip Leggiere
In Praise of Cognitive Dissidence
For the past four decades or so (dating back to roughly from Richard Nixon’s evocations of the “silent majority”) culture war has become an increasingly refined ideological specialty of reactionary politicians. It may (or may not) be true that the now stereotypical and media embedded image of America as divided into “red” (gun-toting, NASCAR-watching, gay hating, evangelicals) and “blue” secularist, modernist, metro) values blocs is an accurate description. Or th
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction, history
I think this is a great book with a lot of interesting arguments and histories.
However, it should be used as a starting point. The author is very obviously trying to keep the book a certain number of pages / tends to gloss over certain events. There was also a discussion in my class that perhaps the author isn't entirely well read.
This book helped me to open up to the idea of counterculture. Each chapter has a different topic / historical situation in really broad terms. It's a great resource b
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and very interesting overview of several different countercultures throughout time (up till it was written in 2003). Goffman (aka RU Serious, former editor of the '90s techno-rave culture magazine Mondo 2000) analyzes, probes, and exposes all the favorites: Prometheus, Abraham, the Taoists, Zen Buddhists, Sufis, Troubadors, Transcendentalists, beatniks, hippies, punks, ravers, and SO much more!

What a fun gallop throughout time, weaving through history common threads of anti-authori
Melissa Schmidty -Schmidt
Informative, enjoyable read. It's an interesting angle: approaching major world religions in terms of their counterculture elements--including at its inception, during its infancy Judaism, as well as alternative sects within other religions such as the Zen approach to Buddhism and the Sufi offshoot of Islam. I was a little disappointed the early rumblings of Christianity weren't similarly explored and I had especially hoped for a chapter on Catholicism's own counterculture movement: the Francisc ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in Cultures and History
Very cool book. Goes throughout history (all the way to the 90's) talking about several cultures and groups like Sufism, Zen, Troubadours, Jesus and His followers, Yippies and so many more; you name it, their in there.
Its a really interesting book, I think anyone who reads it could find some group of people in the past that they can relate to and if you're like me and often feel like maybe you don't belong because of the way you act or think sometimes, this book definitely shows you you're not a
May 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a history buff, so the rate at which I tore through this book, and the degree to which I was inspired to learn more about history was astounding. Finally, historical heroes I can identify with, even as I question and analyze their motives and effects.
Maggie Duval
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally got around to reading this. Highly entertaining read and a great overarching view of counterculture through the ages. Turned me on to a few I didn't know much about. Would also make a fun textbook for a class on the subject that I might teach one of these days...
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
pretty good read so far. it's an interesting history written by an interesting guy. entertaining and informative.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating look at cultures through the ages that helped push us further into periods of creativity and progress.
May 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Partly read - it is the counterthinkers who bring about changes - Socrates / troubadors / Taoists/ etc)
Alan Fay
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, history
This was an excellent (but light) overview of the history of counter-culture. I treat it more like an index of topics to follow through on at a later date.
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a great read, I thought it'd be top heavy with US west coast based culture, which is prominently featured, but tastefully and essentially in context and very well done.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
For a book I had to read for class, I really enjoyed this. Well written, shamelessly opinionated. A nice change. Plus, I learned things about counterculture, so that was nice.
Grumpus McGrouchy
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just a list of endless bohemian subcultures throughout time. But, very thorough and a great jumping off point for further investigation.
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“Countercultural liberties can open pathways to well-being that aren’t recognized by mainstream culture—but can also result in a reckless disregard for self and others.” 0 likes
“The Essence and Character of a People, his overriding message was that Judaism is an “eternal countercultural.” In his book, Hertzberg declares, “Abraham, the first Jew, is the archetypal Jewish character. As the leader of a small, dissenting minority living precariously on the margins of society, he defines the enduring role of the Jew as the outsider. The recurring themes of Jewish history—otherness, defiance, fragility, and morality—are present in his life.” 0 likes
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