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Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle

Coyote, Peter

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ISBN 10: 1887178678 / ISBN 13: 9781887178679
Published by Counterpoint
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Red Planet Books (Carol Stream, IL, U.S.A.)

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1887178678 Signed by the author on the first title page.Light shelfwear. Dust jacket in a mylar protector. Bookseller Inventory # 15JUL139

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle

Publisher: Counterpoint

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


In his energetic, funny, and intelligent memoir, Peter Coyote relives his fifteen-year ride through the heart of the counterculture a journey that took him from the quiet rooms of privilege as the son of an East Coast stockbroker to the riotous life of political street theater and the self-imposed poverty of the West Coast communal movement known as The Diggers. With this innovative collective of artist-anarchists who had assumed as their task nothing less than the re-creation of the nation’s political and social soul, Coyote and his companions soon became power players.

In prose both graphic and unsentimental, Coyote reveals the corrosive side of love that was once called free”; the anxieties and occasional terrors of late-night, drug-fueled visits of biker gangs looking to party; and his own quest for the next high. His road through revolution brought him to adulthood and to his major role as a political strategist: from radical communard to the chairman of the California Arts Council, from a street theater apprentice to a motion-picture star.


As the generation that launched America's counterculture in the 1960s matures into its gray ponytails and 401(k) plans, one might expect the autobiographies of its celebrities to be tinged with apology for goals unrealized. Indeed, with only a few notable exceptions, such as Peter Fonda's Don't Tell Dad, most celebrity autobiographies from '60s pop culture icons seem rooted in either bitterness or desperation. Fortunately, in Sleeping Where I Fall, Peter Coyote neither apologizes for his wild days nor waxes romantic for them. Nor should he.

This wise and witty, tightly crafted narrative reports on the turbulence of that era with philosophical integrity, wry humor, and unmitigated honesty. Looking back over his days with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a street theater group that sought to break the conventional boundaries between performer and audience, Coyote rhapsodizes with equal vigor about the company's artistic triumphs and the pulchritude of its actresses. While his developing acting career and romantic misadventures comprise a great deal of the narrative, an even larger part dwells on his life as one of The Diggers, the band of anarchistic counterculturalists who fought against commercial culture's ability to co-opt the superficial elements of youthful rebellion by rejecting the very notions of ownership and extrinsic value. "The Diggers," writes Coyote, "understood that style is infinitely co-optable. What could not be co-opted was doing things for free-without money." And what things they did! Coyote recounts the lives and times of poets, actors, farmers, and philosophers who participated in a profound cultural experiment that tested the very limits of human consciousness and fell--eventually--to the excesses of personal indulgence.

Coyote's evolution from callow thespian to revolutionary communard to seasoned philosopher is fascinating, as much a social and political history as it is a reminiscence. The stories unravel like tender after-dinner tales in prose that captures the rasp and tickle of Coyote's corduroy voice. In the end, Sleeping Where I Fall reveals a man as complex and unpredictable as the totem animal from which he takes his name. --L.A. Smith

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