Groovin’: Horses, Hopes and Slippery Slopes by Rich Israel

I grew up among hippies. So I can relate to this book. I am at the end of the Baby Boomer years and the people represented in this book are basically cameos of many people in my life who embraced similar ideals and lifestyles.

But as a child, I observed that this group is sometimes not able to clearly recall the events of those days spent in a halo of pot smoke, acid trips and general hippy dippy lifestyle choices. I embraced many myself but Rich Israel suffers from minor memory distortion!

The stand out issue for me in this regard is that several times he claims to have made love with someone and then pages later he denied that it ever happened. Love was free Rich. I know you want to be a modern day feminist but dude, hippie men slept around. A lot. Hippie women slept around. A lot. Believe me, you did it.

I really enjoyed this book but I would re-edit it. The first few chapters wander all over with half thought out anecdotes about protests, sex, house sharing, partying and draft card burning. It was generally unfocused.

The rest of the book focused on a journey Rich and his friend took by horseback from New Mexico to Colorado. This should have been the focus of the whole book rather than just an extended anecdote. It is a 20th century cowboy adventure.

The story follows the two as they purchase horses in New Mexico, stock up and then ride through the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. Each day brought a new adventure and perspective on life. There was some pot smoking and acid dropping but that is all part of the big adventure.

The diet was limited. There were saddle sore men. There were people met on the trail. There was wildlife. And the two horses definitely had their own series of adventures and misadventures. There were also two dogs that trotted along with the horses and men and had their own set of adventures.

The author has been encouraged to write his memoir and there is a second book in the process of being written. I suggest he focus on one story or one year or one series of events and cover that more completely. This was an entertaining book.

2 thoughts on “Groovin’: Horses, Hopes and Slippery Slopes by Rich Israel

  1. Hi Kris,

    Thank you for reviewing my book, Groovin’: Horses, Hopes, and Slippery Slopes. I was wondering if you could provide some clarification for me as accuracy in my writing is important to me.

    You mentioned: “several times he claims to have made love with someone and then pages later he denied that it ever happened.”

    This statement left me puzzled because after doing considerable searching, I couldn’t find what you were referring to. Could you please direct me to where this occurred in the book so I can make a correction if it is needed?

    Thank you for your help with this matter.

    Sincerely, Rich Israel


    1. Hi Rich – there were two sections where I found your account confusing. Several women were listed in your Berkeley account (in the share house), then the Colorado people who you went to meet at the Aspen Festival. It appeared that you said you had made love with them in Berkeley and then at the Aspen meeting, stated “but you had never slept with them”. I was brought up in the hippie free love days of the 60’s and 70’s. Believe me, I get it! Loved the Colorado trip, wish I had done that one.


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