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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Spirit Quest 1969 by Ronald J Schulz begins with a minor brush with the law, as hitchhiking was illegal. Then two hippies give him drugs. Dropped off in Colorado Springs, Schulz seeks a park. In need of shelter, he boards a bus to Gallup, New Mexico. The next evening finds him visiting a missionary on a Navajo reservation. He gets a lift to Santa Fe and hangs out in an alternate music shop before joining a group headed for Taos, where he is introduced to Joe Sage and initiated into the commune. Joe’s community is no utopia, as the leader is bad-tempered. The members also work hard for their keep. An enigmatic visitor might have been Charles Manson. After he left Joe’s group, Schulz hikes and hitches towards his original destination of Drop City. Accepted into the commune, he learns members periodically sojourn in the city to earn money. Finally, Schulz returns to his parental home.
Spirit Quest 1969 by Ronald J Schulz fascinated me because it was a first-hand account of the turbulent sixties. The narrative was creative and entertaining. I liked the way Schulz was able to compare the dietary proscriptions of the commune leaders to other health books he had read. Even recollecting his teens, Schulz displayed a strong sense of social justice and I enjoyed the comparison between his ideals to the reality he encountered on the road. Prejudice ought to have been overcome by a social revolution of peace and love, but some people appeared to take their classism and racism with them. Overall, Spirit Quest 1969 by Ronald J Schulz is a highly perceptive memoir.