“The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.”
—C. G. JUNG
Counterculture Crossover: Growing Up in the Love Family By Rachel Israel
Reviewed by Robert W. Balch,
Read the review, published in the International Journal of Cultic Studies Vol. 10, 2019
Review of Counterculture Crossover: Growing Up in the Love Family by Rachel Israel
by Kathy Harrigan, January 14, 2019 Read the review
Former Love Israel Family member publishes memoir. Author writes about childhood in hippie commune founded on Queen Anne Hill in 1960s, by Brandon Macz.
Read the article, published in the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, about Rachel's new book.
Rachel's Book Tells her History with Israel Commune, by Steven Powell.
Read the first of two articles, published in the Arlington Times, about Rachel's new book.
Read the second, and final, article in the series.
Hippie-Child, Cult Survivor Rachel Israel Releases Counterculture Crossover a Tell-All Untold Story of the Love Israel Family. Read the press release.
Praise for Counterculture Crossover
“...the book is loaded with intriguing details and excellent insights into one of the most notable social experiments to come out of the 1960s. Especially for those interested in the children of radical religions, Ms. Israel’s memoir will raise questions about the extent to which parenting in unconventional religions should be subject to state control, if at all.”
— Robert W. Balch, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Sociology, at the University of Montana.
“I am impressed with young Rachel Israel’s astute perceptions of flaws in people, pitfalls in relationships, and dysfunction in systems – factors that had the potential for harming her or others she loved. I am also impressed with her resiliency, at least in part a result of her ability to adroitly and frequently assess and then navigate new or unusual situations, a strength she developed from an early age.”
— Kathy Harrigan
“A painfully honest memoir of a girl who grew up in one of the largest and long-lived of the 1960s-era communes. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all here—but mainly just memories of growing up in the idealistic, if imperfect, world of the hippie spiritual seekers.”— Timothy Miller, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and author of: The 60s Communes: hippies and beyond (1999); America’s Alternative Religions (1995); and The Hippies and American Values (1991).
“Rachel takes us on an amazingly colorful journey through her childhood. It is a captivating story of what life was like growing up in the early years of the hippie counter culture. Rachel encompasses her own personal experiences with relevant historical facts, giving readers insight into the early hippie days of alternative lifestyles, communal living, and living off the grid. Even though she faced many “hardships” like hitchhiking with her single mom and living without running water and electricity, Rachel portrays her experiences with positivity and grace.
Having personally grown up in the hippie counter culture, I am astounded by the similarities and recollections that Rachel and I share. Our journeys briefly crossed as I too stayed with the Love Family; a unique Christian commune, where everyone is “eternal.” I can relate so well with the various events Rachel describes in her book with such fascinating detail. Rachel’s writing style is easy to follow and her book is hard to put down. A wonderful authentic narrative, that is very informative and appropriate for all ages.”
— Anastasia G. Ewing (Machacek), Author of Growing Up Hippie
“This is an intriguing first-hand recollection by Rachel Israel. As a child she lived in the Love Israel Family, a countercultural commune of the late 20th century located in western Washington State. Based on reminiscences
the author wrote shortly after she left the Family in her early teens, her recollections have been amplified by research and other studies during her adult years. Thus, her book has the credibility of first hand observations by a child
at critical moments of her life but enriched by a later perspective based on studies of psychology and cultural issues.
The account begins with the reminiscences of this very young girl experiencing a hippie life with her mother whose wanderings eventually led them into a commune rigidly controlled by a dominant leader who had assumed the name Love Israel. What follows is a frank account of the experiences, views, and often bewildering challenges faced by a child who is buffeted by adults and situations she is not equipped to understand. She recounts living conditions, social practices, daily life, schooling, rituals, and adult behavior as seen through her young eyes. After several years in the commune a new set of challenging circumstances forced her sudden departure and entry into the traditional “World”; suddenly she was a teen-ager in a city with neighborhoods, with a school and classmates that were foreign to her. Rachel’s struggles both during and after her communal life are explored with convictions and an effort to comprehend it all. Hers is a compelling and even unique life story.”
—Charles P. LeWarne, author of The Love Israel Family: Urban Commune, Rural Commune
“Among the thousands of communal experiments of the late 1960s and early ‘70s, the Love Family was one of the biggest and most successful, as well one of the most controversial. Opponents accused it of brainwashing and child abuse, whereas supporters saw it as an admirable social experiment and a welcome addition to Seattle’s diverse cultural scene. Yet, surprisingly little has been written about the Love Family, and, until now, nothing at all from the perspective of a second-generation member.
Rachel Israel’s account is really two stories woven into a single narrative. The first is her personal story. She describes joining the Love Family with her mother when she was just six years old; learning to navigate daily life in a world where everyone was expected to be perfect; and ultimately leaving the community and struggling to readjust to life in “the World”. The second story is the story of the Love Family itself--from its origins in an LSD trip during the “Summer of Love” in 1967 to its calamitous breakup and near demise in 1984. Based on both her personal observations and interviews with other members, Ms Israel provides rich descriptions of virtually every aspect of community life, including all the topics commonly covered in professional ethnographies. Given recent academic interest in second-generation members of new religious movements, her descriptions of childhood and adolescence
are especially important.
In addition to general readers, this book should be of special interest to sociologists, historians, and students of communal societies, as well as counselors and psychologists who work with former members of
high-control religious communities.”
— Rob Balch, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology, University of Montana, retired 2013 but still teaching Sociology of Alternative Religions