—This book is so good. It tells the tale of a generation pushing for change and looking for a path to sanity through spirituality. The author does a great job of telling this tale in a very accessible manner. I listened to the audio book, read by the author, and I was surprised at his exceptional skills of delivery. And even though this tale describes an entire movement, the author does a great job of giving us a personal story we can relate to. By doing this, he gives us a way in the door to a movement we may have been too young, too old, or too shy to participate in. Kudos for the great job!
—During the 60’s and early 70’s I followed a traditional path. I went to college, studied hard, got married, got my Ph. D., and became a professor. I have always been very curious about an alternative path that some of my friends followed; a freer life of travel, grass, free love, and few traditional responsibilities. I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to experience this alternative lifestyle. I don’t have to wonder any longer. This wonderful read gives me a first-hand account of life during this time period. It’s very well written, full of energy, and provides an exciting and detailed account of life during one of the most interesting periods of our country. I highly recommend this book.
—Melvyn easily kept me engaged with the telling of the rise and fall of living his dream. I love that even as the policies led to the end of the communal way that the love of living and working with your friends, close to nature, still shines through as a glorious way to live. Reading the whole series as one continuous story deepened my understanding of the journey. Magical and honest.
—Great stuff. So honest. It really invokes the acid visions, the whole feeling of what it was like back then at Monday Night Class and Sunday Services. Well written, humorous account of an inspiring time in the counterculture movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Stiriss has written a psychedelically evocative, unsparingly honest account of what it was really like. I was there. I know what he says is true. I could not put it down. Melvyn is the real chronicler of the whole trip. I hope he takes it all the way for the whole history of The Farm. It’s a big responsibility, and it turns out to be his.
—Melvyn is a gifted storyteller who takes you on a journey into the past to a time and place that never existed before and may never again. Melvyn was able to take me right into his world and make me see it though his eyes.
—I really loved reading this book. I heard of the Farm many years ago, and I was always curious how it operated. This book gives a very detailed personal account of how the farm was created and how it operated. The book is very well written. I felt like I was there. It’s not a sugar-coated story. Beside Melvyn, Stephen Gaskin, the spiritual leader of the Farm, was the central figure in the narrative. It’s clear that the author, like everyone else on the farm, revered Stephen. However, some of Stephen’s flaws were very subtly revealed as the narrative progressed. It was interesting to me how a leader with absolute authority exercises his/her powers. As I was reading, it was the proverbial “couldn’t put it down.”
—I like the look into an unusual American experience. The excitement of a new beginning in the midst of a co-opted US culture comes through. I would love to know more about what individuals other than the author were thinking and doing. My interest is certainly piqued. On balance, the author’s courage in showing himself in process is admirable.
—Entertaining and heartfelt. Full of details that make you feel you are there, at the mind-blowing experience of establishing a successful ‘hippy commune’ in the deep rural south in the 1970s. The author shares a lot of ‘inside’ information that illustrates to what a great extent the Farm was a groundbreaking, and largely successful, social experiment. It makes me want to go live there.
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Voluntary Peasants is also available as a 6-part eBook series here