Children of the Sun: A Pictorial Anthology From Germany to California 1883-1949 by Gordon Kennedy.
Who were the first hippies in modern times? What did they do? How did they live? This book answers these questions with the biographies of 16 people who taught and followed a hippie philosophy and lifestyle in Europe and the U.S. It discusses four different social reform movements that embraced pre-hippie philosophy.
But the real joy here is the 144 b/w & color photos of the people, the art and publications that represented the people and their movements. It was a pleasure to discover the beautiful full color artwork of Fidus who obviously influenced the psychedelic posters of the 1960s.
Starting in Germany in the 1880's, Kennedy documents the people, places and ideas that led to the American Hippy Movement of the 1960s. The Lebensreform (Land Reform), Naturmenschen (Natural Men) and Wandervogel (migrant birds/free spirits) movements inspired many to leave the cities, their jobs, and even their clothes behind, to setup natural communities in the countryside. The leaders of these movements espoused living in tune with nature, embraced naturopathy, nudism and vegetarianism and rejected the hypocrisy and distorted values of German society.
Fortunately some of the followers of these movements moved to the U.S. and their healthy living ideas caught on, particularly in California. One of these, Arnold Ehret, was the founder of the Mucusless Diet and a big proponent of fasting. Soon barefoot nature boys were gathering at "health food" stores in California. One of them, eden ahbez, composed a song, "Nature Boy" while living in a cave. That song, sung by Nat King Cole ended up being a #1 hit for 15 weeks, and for awhile in 1948 focused attention on the radical philosophy embraced by these nature lovers. It was these "nature boys" who spread their influential ideas across America and inspired the flower children in the 1960s.
Kennedy's book lays to rest the idea that the hippy movement was just a 60s fad. It fills in the gaps in hippie history and serves as an inspiration to us all to continue to pass on our beliefs and lifestyle to younger generations.