Psychedelic Chile

As in other aspects of socio-political culture, Chile’s experience of the late 1960s and early 1970s diverged significantly from other countries in Latin America.

On the one hand, hippismo (the hippies) and similar countercultural movements that captured the imagination of young people did so in a democratic, moderately plural society – albeit one whose days were numbered as polarisation and the success of Marxism ushered in the 1973 coup.

On the other hand, the divided politics of the era and the strong grip of social conservatism on both right and left in Chile meant that countercultural experimentation was often caught in the crossfire of class warfare, while also coming under fire from both sides.

Readers will take away different message from Patrick Barr-Melej’s excellent and finely researched Psychedelic Chile, timely in the 50th anniversary year of the Summer of Love, but by far the most interesting dimension of this book is the relationship between the Hippies and the Left.

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