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More Alternatives (cf. the Hedgpeth & Stock photojournalistic collaboration -- 1970, p. 630) to which Mr. Houriet bears a personal kind of witness since for three years he lived in various communes the country over with this book in the back of his mind, not altogether about the kind of life he wanted to live. Houriet is less fervent than Hedgpeth, certainly in his initial exposures, the more extended ones, at Oz in Meadville, Panna., as divided as the outside world which manifested considerable curiosity and hostility toward this early phenomenon; at Bryn Athyn in New England, on a nearly permanent high; and at High Ridge Farm, in Oregon. As he progresses, he indicates the many modalities which have no particular structure (dishes don't get washed; absolutes are broken); the balance between surviving and aspiring is a shaky one. Traveling on, Houriet finds, or claims to find, greater definition typified by Robert Rimmer's Harrad, the swinging group of his novels; B. F. Skinner-modeled Walden Two in Virginia; and various spiritual splinter groups. Ultimately -- there have been indications throughout that his own lifestyle had been crimped -- he will find PEACE in his own Vermont-based retreat whereas certainly, in many of the other Splitsvilles, he had felt both uncomfortable and threatened. The outsider may still feel like one, certainly if macrobiotics and macrame don't appeal to him, but he will not question Mr. Houriet's authenticating observations and qualifying judgments in what is essentially a work of reportage.

Pub Date: July 30th, 1971
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan