The Compendium Catalogue is a significant historical document. It was published in 1974 and was the first attempt at cataloguing the self-sufficiency books that were being read at that time. It was part of the new mood which started in the 1960’s and was later to be labeled ‘Hippy’
Gregory Ah Ket was the originator of the list following a visit to Britain and Europe to see the state of the revolutionary anti-capitalist popular culture that had recently spread there from the US.
There are many books available which outline the rise of anti-establishment hippy culture from its origins in the 1950’s beat generation through to the political ideologies which came to influence it, or at least, tried to. One of the most widely read was the Whole Earth Catalogue.
The radical new way of looking at life so often appealed to a wide range of beliefs. From Chinese Confucianism, Marxist Agrarian reform or US style Libertarianism – to the idea of living a more simple rural self-sufficient life-style, inspired in-part by the 1854 book by Henry David Thoreau, Walden and subtitled Life in the Woods.
The Compendium Catalogue attempted to bring together a non-political listing of the most important books on a particular topic, be it metalwork or soil health or preparing animal skins for use as clothing.
The broad headings of the catalogue are: Farming, Gardening, Shelter, Society & Culture and Science & Technology
We have published all sixty pages of the catalogue here so that anyone interested in or studying the roots of popular culture through the seventies and early eighties, have one more resource to check on.
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