Very cool. I’ll check them out. I can safely call myself an amateur 60s historian at this point. It’s a subject I find fascinating for multiple reasons (none of them being celebrity worship or idolization).
The claims by the conspiracy minded seem to be two-fold, the simpler one being that the entire hippie phenomenon did indeed undermine the serious roots of the anti-war movement, kind of diverted it into drugs and sex. I find the notion interesting but by no means do I endorse it. Not nearly enough hard evidence.
But, I do have to say that there is a lot of strangeness in how intelligence groups constantly seem to overlap with the counterculture.
Do you know Phil Caputo? Great journalist of the era…in his book 13 Seconds (about kent State) he mentions credible (though never proven) evidence for agent provocateurs having been planted among the Kent State protesters.
Or say, for instance, I found out about the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada, which is perhaps the place best suited to trace back the origin of the Family Dog and the San Francisco psychedelic scene. Well, I’m researching this story, and so much of it seems bizarre…so I keep looking, and I find out the story of Milan Melvin, who was a known “ex”-FBI informant (and the subject of Joan Baez’s “Sweet Sir Galahad”)….I put “ex” in parenthesis because the way the rest of his life played out, I have a hard time believing he actually left that line of work (incredible life this guy lived…like a James Bond book).
Or, I look into Black Bear Ranch and find its members saying they were fully aware one of the people in the commune was an FBI agent, and it was all part of the game.
etc. etc. Again, I want to make clear that I do not support the grand conspiracy notion, but I also cannot completely disregard that intelligence groups were up to something with it all…maybe it was an experiment that got out of control…maybe they were simply observing it harmlessly…I don’t know, there was just way too much weirdness going on.
But anyway…wow that was a long ramble. Ha. It’s one of my favorite subjects and not something I get to talk about often.
I’ll check out your books for sure.