Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Stories from Berkeley" chronicles 1960's and 1970's counter culture

According to my Social Studies-teacher-daughter, very little about the counter-culture of the 1960’s and 1970’s is taught in secondary schools in Texas. Nathan Spooner’s new release, Stories from Berkeley: Adventures in the Slow Lane, preserves a part of our history which, unfortunately, is becoming lost.

Spooner chronicles his life as a philosophy student at Berkeley and a street performer in the Bay area including his relationships with Joadie Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie; renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz; various house-mates in the communal house in which he lived; and fellow musicians. Although Spooner does not emphasize the turbulent political tenor of the times, he does put the anti-Viet Nam war effort in perspective.

After Berkeley, Spooner moved to Alaska for ten years where he and his wife raised their children. Upon returning to Berkeley the Spooners no longer felt at home there and moved to the Central Coast of California. Nathan Spooner is now a special education teacher with grown children and grandchildren.

Spooner successfully captures an era of American life that should be preserved. Stories from Berkeley has a nice rhythm to it and is an interesting read. This book is appropriate for high school students and would make a wonderful adjunct to Social Studies programs in both secondary schools and in college curriculums.

Stories from Berkeley (ISBN 978-0-9701698-1-5, US $16.95) can be ordered from Barnes and Noble online and is also available from the author at