The Sixties

Which Woodstock Book Should You Buy?

You may never be able to go back to the garden, but there are a slew of new books about Woodstock that will bring you awfully close. There’s Taking Woodstock, written by one of the promoters of the festival, Elliot Tiber, which spawned Ang Lee's new movie of the same name. There’s the coffee table book Woodstock: The Three Days That Rocked The World. There’s even Max Said Yes!, an illustrated guide to Woodstock for the children of flower children. So which should you read? Pete Fornatale’s Back to the Garden offers anecdotes from audience members and musicians—from the feel of the festival to the fetid smell of the Port-o-Sans. Fonatale’s writing is vivid, and he focuses on the music of the festival—who brought the house down, and who came up short (the Grateful Dead, unfortunately, were in the latter category). Michael Lang, on the other hand, has written The Road to Woodstock, which, according to Gail Collins in The New York Times Book Review, is more authoritative on how the festival came off. When the caterers ran out of food, Lang writes, chow was helicoptered in from neighboring towns, resulting in what one commune leader called “breakfast in bed for 400,000.”