The Hippie Trail

by Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland

Category: History, Non-Fiction

This is the first detailed history of the Hippie Trail in the 1960s and 1970s. Going beyond the dozens of personal memoirs and travellers’ accounts that have been written about the legendary overland route between the West and South Asia, the book records the joys and pains experienced by the huge numbers of (mostly) young hippies on their travels to India and other ‘points east’ such as Nepal and Afghanistan. Written in a clear, simple style, it goes deep into the motivations and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of hippies who made the journey. This account is structured around a few key questions: Were the travellers simply motivated by a search for drugs, or was there something deeper that they were looking for? What was the truth about the love and sexual freedom that was supposed to be an integral part of the hippie subculture? Were they basically just budget tourists? Or were they pilgrims in thrall to the mysticism of the East? Besides an insightful analysis of the various aspects of the hippie phenomenon, the authors also take a look at how the travellers have been represented in films, novels and autobiographical accounts. In sum, The Hippie Trail should appeal to all those interested in a fascinating moment in cultural history, and its far-reaching effects on the generations that followed.

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