As the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer of Love floods the media with debates and celebrations of music, political movements, “flower power,” “acid rock,” and “hippies”; The Explosion of Deferred Dreams offers a critical re-examination of the interwoven political and musical happenings in San Francisco in the Sixties. Author, musician, and native San Franciscan Mat Callahan explores the dynamic links between the Black Panthers and Sly and the Family Stone, the United Farm Workers and Santana, the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the New Left and the counterculture.
Callahan’s meticulous, impassioned arguments both expose and reframe the political and social context for the San Francisco Sound and the vibrant subcultural uprisings with which it is associated. Using dozens of original interviews, primary sources, and personal experiences, the author shows how the intense interplay of artistic and political movements put San Francisco, briefly, in the forefront of a worldwide revolutionary upsurge.
A must-read for any musician, historian, or person who “was there” (or longed to have been), The Explosion of Deferred Dreams is substantive and provocative, inviting us to reinvigorate our historical sense-making of an era that assumes a mythic role in the contemporary American zeitgeist.
What People Are Saying
“Mat Callahan was a red diaper baby lucky to be attending a San Francisco high school during the ‘Summer of Love.’ He takes a studied approach, but with the eye of a revolutionary, describing the sociopolitical landscape that led to the explosion of popular music (rock, jazz, folk, R&B) coupled with the birth of several diverse radical movements during the golden 1965–1975 age of the Bay Area. Callahan comes at it from every angle imaginable (black power, anti–Vietnam War, the media, the New Left, feminism, sexual revolution—with the voice of authority backed up by interviews with those who lived it.” —Pat Thomas, author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965–1975
“All too often, people talk about the ’60s without mentioning our music and the fun we had trying to smash the state and create a culture based upon love. Mat Callahan’s book is a necessary corrective.” —George Katsiaficas, author of The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968
“Something very special took place in San Francisco in the Sixties, generating waves of social and aesthetic motion that still ricochet around this planet. The Explosion of Deferred Dreams takes a clear-eyed, politically engaged view that separates truth from propaganda. Grasping why the time became legendary and how society dealt with the challenges it created is what Explosion is about—and it accomplishes this critical task with intelligence and clarity.” —Dennis McNally, author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead
“In this landmark work, Mat Callahan painstakingly braids disparate threads of the rich tapestry of San Francisco—music, politics, race, culture. In this vast, panoramic portrait, Callahan digs out social/political undercurrents that have never been more thoroughly explored.” —Joel Selvin, Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love and High Times in the Wild West
About the Author
Mat Callahan is a musician and author originally from San Francisco, where he founded Komotion International. He is the author of three books, Sex, Death & the Angry Young Man, Testimony, and The Trouble with Music as well as the editor of Songs of Freedom: The James Connolly Songbook. He currently resides in Bern, Switzerland.