Saturday, July 18, 2009
You have to remember The Whole Earth Catalog! It was the bible of the American counterculture. Published in 1968 by Steward Brand, his goal was to have anyone to be able to pick up a telephone and find complete information on anything.
The publication was an access to tools and education for the reader to shape his own environment and find some inspiration. This was a large book and later editions were an inch thick. In 1972, the catalog won the National Book Award, the first time ever for a catalog.
In 1966, Steward Brand initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the rumored satellite image of earth as seen from space. He felt this image of our planet would be a powerful symbol.
In 2005, the catalog was compared to Google search engines in paperback form. In the 1960's, there was no Internet or hundreds of cable channels. As the web and blogs arrived, Whole Earth Catalogs disappeared. Everything The Whole Earth Catalog did, the web did better. It became a transfer from counterculture to cyberculture.
There were seven sections in the 1968 catalog:
~Understanding Whole Systems
~Shelter And Land Use
~Industry And Craft
In each section, the best tools and books were listed by the editors. This included reviews, images, uses, supplies and prices.
The catalog was a huge success for hippies and survivalists. The publication was not intended for very long, just long enough for the editors to complete a good overview of available tools and resources for everyone that needed them.
In these times, I think The Whole Earth Catalog is just the ticket. It will take you back to the times when life was a bit more wholesome and basic. I found my old original copy. It's got the whole earth in my hands.