I'm just pages away from finishing Drop City, by T.C.Boyle. This is one of the more riveting novels I've read in quite a while. It's been hard for me to put it down. It portrays two completely different sets of people who really have the same goals, but come at it from two totally different perspectives.
It's set in 1970, and the two groups of people are a hippie commune from Sonoma County and the residents of Boynton, Alaska, 150 miles from Fairbanks where the roads stop. The health department shuts down the commune, which decides to relocate itself to Alaska.
The focus of the story is really around how the long term residents of Boyton, and the surrounding bush, are just as "dropped out" of mainstream society as the hippies are. They too are looking for personal freedom, and escape from the rat race and rapidly plasticized society of the late 60's early 70's. The difference between them is in their approach. Libertine vs. Libertarian. Peace love and brotherhood vs. live free or die. It's a very interesting and original juxtaposition, IMHO.
I grew up in Marin in the early 70's and I remember first hand what the peace love and brotherhood crowd was like. Boyle does a great job of capturing not only the ideal of hippieness, but also the factors that inevitably crushed it.
If you remember the hippies, are into Alaska, or just looking for a diverting read, check it out.