Noe Valley Voice April 2013

David Talbot Revisits ‘Season of the Witch’

By Corrie M. Anders

Author David Talbot will talk about Jonestown, among other traumas from the 1970s, at the April 30 meeting of the San Francisco History Association. 

Journalist David Talbot, a founder of the online magazine Salon and a former features editor at the San Francisco Examiner, will discuss his bestselling book about San Francisco at the next meeting of the San Francisco History Association, on Tuesday, April 30.

Published last spring, Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love explores the social, political, and cultural upheavals that rocked San Francisco from 1967 to 1982.

In his talk, Talbot plans to focus on the People’s Temple and the rise of Rev. Jim Jones’ political machine. Jones’ supporters in the city’s liberal establishment included Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, and both, according to the association, “were deeply compromised by their association with the cult leader in the 1970s.”

The author also will dissect how Jones was able to avoid official inquiries and media scrutiny while planning to take his flock to Guyana, which eventually resulted in the murder/suicide of more than 900 people.

The Jonestown tragedy is only one of many gut-checks in Talbot’s work. Also documented are the wild, drug-filled days of San Francisco’s music scene—from Janis Joplin to the Grateful Dead—the shocking assassinations of both Milk and Moscone by Supervisor Dan White, and the terrible advent and spread of AIDS.

But from the ashes there came compassion and liberation, Talbot writes, and even the unifying grace of a winning football team.

The evening starts off with a social hour at 7 p.m., with Talbot set to speak at 7:45 p.m. The talk will be held in the hall at St. Philip’s Church, 725 Diamond St. between Elizabeth and 24th streets. Admission is free to association members, $5 for others.

There is limited parking in St. Philip’s schoolyard; please enter on Elizabeth Street.

For more information, call the ­association at 415-750-9986 or visit online.