There’s A House in the Land [Where a Band Can Take a Stand], by Shaun D. Mullen
This book is a description of a farm that was only possible in the seventies, a decade where several things came together in a synergy that will probably never repeat. First, there was the residue of the sixties flower power, additional drugs that could be taken in relative safety and the veterans returning from Vietnam. President Richard Nixon was forced to resign, leading to a crisis in confidence in government and there were the regular problems people had in their lives where they decided to flee from where they were to a place that was better.
The place was called Kiln farm and it was located in the far western suburbs of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. It was a large house that was segmented into a set of small rooms so that a cast of general misfits and mind-altering chemical consumers could live there. Some of the main characters were Vietnam veterans. Beer and pot were heavily consumed along with other substances such as LSD.
Even though that kind of activity was a daily event, it was an actual farm with milk goats, hogs, many types of fowl, a large colony of bees and an extremely large garden. While a few people were permanent, most of the characters were there for a time and then took their struggles elsewhere. There were several connections to famous musicians as well, Bob Marley and other Jamaicans tutored them in how to grow quality marijuana.
Some of the people that spent time on Kiln farm ended up there because they had no other place to go, while both genders resided there and there was some bed hopping, there was much less than one would expect. Very little of that activity is described in this book.
Most of the content is written in a stream of consciousness style, one event is described before moving on to the next. There is nothing in the way of temporal sequence, the timeframe is here, there and then sometime else. Some of the stories are very funny, my favorite was when a sample of their honey is taken to a man known for his skills at identifying by taste what flowers the bees extracted their nectar from. He was baffled by the Kiln farm honey that was sourced from marijuana plants.
Like most communities brought together like this one was, it eventually disbanded. Yet very vivid memories remain through the cloud of drug use and the reader will find this retrospective to be an enjoyable read. Some may even be a bit envious of the relatively carefree life the residents had.
This book was made available for free for review purposes