Sugaring Down takes place on a Vermont commune in the 60’s, and explores the demise of SDS and the rise of the Weatherman tendency as well as the dynamics of the commune and its relationship to the local community. It is full of colorful characters, contains a love story, a dog story, and an exploration of the natural environment of Vermont.
Praise for Sugaring Down
“David, the protagonist of Dan Chodorkoff’s insightful new novel Sugaring Down, is conflicted. He has moved to Vermont in 1969 to be part of an activist political collective, but finds himself drawn to the quiet rhythms of the Vermont seasons. The more radicalized his comrades (and especially his girlfriend Jill) become, the more David finds true fulfillment in putting down roots. …it was painful to this veteran of the late 1960s to relive the heated political conversations of the time. The book takes place at a time when some on the “New Left” were turning to violence, and Chodorkoff does not shy away from these upsetting themes.”
— Rick Winston, author of Red Scare in the Green Mountains
"When I read Dan Chodorkoff's historically vivid Vermont novel, I thought of Faulkner's famous statement: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Sugaring Down takes place in the turbulent 60's, when the Vietnam war was malignantly in our communal hearts and minds. But Chodorkoff's story is also about the friendships and fateful decisions we made in our flurried passions, at the same time hauntingly sensed that we may never again feel quite so alive.”
—Howard Norman, author of The Ghost Clause
“In Sugaring Down Dan Chodorkoff tells the story of a young couple, of the communal days of 1968 and 1969, of political passions and of a Vermont landscape that exists in its own weathered right. The notion of revolution that animates the young communards has become distant but that is all the more reason to read this compelling, deeply felt novel. Historical moments exert enormous pressure; people make fateful decisions. At the same time, Chodorkoff shows us a world whose natural rhythms cast an almost timeless spell. The northern Vermont village he writes of is to some eyes a nowhere but in Chodorkoff’s hands it feels remarkable—an essence that speaks to dark perplexities and calm, sun-blessed mornings.”
—Baron Wormser, author of The Road Washes Out in Spring
“Sugaring Down whisks us back to the late 1960’s, another turbulent time in American history when the personal and the political were deeply entwined. The winds of change have swept up David and Jill, a couple who make very different choices in their resistance to the war raging in Vietnam. With his vivid depictions of communal life in Vermont and the radical underground in New York City, Chodorkoff has delivered a mythic tale of love, revolution, and redemption.
—Suzan Ritz, author of A Dream to Die For
About the Author
Dan Chodorkoff is a writer and educator who co-founded The Institute for Social Ecology. He received his PH.D incultural anthropology from the New School for Social Research where his studies focused on the integration of alternative technologies like solar energy, wind energy, and community gardens into grassroots community development efforts on the Lower East Side, where he worked for twelve years in the 70s and 80s. A former college professor, his writing has been translated into five languages and appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is a life-long activist in the peace and ecology movements, who views resistance to hierarchy and domination among people as integrally linked to the reharmonization of people and nature. Dan is currently living in Northern Vermont with his wife and two daughters where he gardens, writes, plays harmonica, and works on environmental justice issues.