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Book Review: This Is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground

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This is Burning Man” is the first comprehensive explanation of how Burning Man was formed that I have come across. This book was written by Brian Doherty over ten years ago does an excellent job of describing the progression of burns from the mid-80’s up until 2006. It describes all burns post 1998 to be approximately the same and before that time to be a bit more wild with much less rules and infrastructure.

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I found this book to be interesting from beginning to end. The characters such as Larry Harvey, John Law, Vanessa, Michael Michael, Chicken John and Flash were so vividly portrayed by their wild antics and extreme forms of self expression. Brian explains the tension between the first generation of inner circle leaders and eventually starts introducing many important artists from welders to robotics experts who are still involved today.

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The major theme through the book was live life and try to avoid dying. An event with this kind of intensity changes lives in the most extreme ways imaginable. While this book is NSFW and probably should not be shared with a minor it is the ideal read for any burner who wants a history lesson. This is a fun read that will leave you telling your friends stories about the old days of Burning Man.

Happy memorial day weekend. Enjoy the burn.


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