On a hot summer night in 1963, a teenager named Walt Crowley hopped off a bus in Seattle’s University District, and began his own personal journey through the 1960s. Four years later at age 19, he was installed as "rapidograph in residence" at the Helix, the region’s leading underground newspaper. His cartoons, cover art, and political essays helped define his generation’s experience during that tumultuous decade.
Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle weaves Crowley’s personal experience with the strands of international, intellectual, and political history that shaped the decade. As both a member and in-house critic of the New Left and counter-culture, the author offers a unique perspective in explaining why the experiments and excess of the period "made sense at the time."
Anti-war marches, human be-ins, rock festivals, psychedelic drugs, underground newspapers, free universities, light shows, inner-city riots, radical skirmishes, and hippie antics are chronicled with personal anecdotes, contemporary accounts, and historical insights. In the pages of Rites of Passage, the reader will encounter Black (and White) Panthers, the Seattle and Chicago Seven, Weathermen and Radical Women, and many more remarkable characters.
As an engaging blend of history and personal reminiscence, Rites of Passage places the sixties in a context unavailable to its participants at the time. In addition to his text, Crowley has assembled a chronology of the decade beginning with its harbingers in the forties and fifties and continuing through its aftermath. This compilation covers political, social, and cultural events, and provides the most complete synopsis of sixties history now in print.