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Getting Skooled: A Burning Man Biblio

August 1, 2013

Layout 1Back in April 2013, right after (and I mean right after!) I submitted my Burning Man paper to my professor (read part 1 the shadow grows, part 2 integrating the shadow, part 3 Ten Principles/New economy), Will Chase on Jack Rabbit Speaks posted a link to the Burning Man Bilbiography. When I noted and emailed that they had missed Chris Carlsson’s book Nowtopia which has a chapter on Burning Man, LadyBee thanked me and responded that:

“The bibliography is abridged – I included published books that are factual in nature, either entirely about Burning Man or with significant chapters on it. I didn’t include every book with a Burning Man mention, nor did I include fiction. Typically writers let us know about books with writing about Burning Man, and the authors generally send us copies of their books.”

My hope is to slowly but surely add hotlinks, images, and some comments about each of these resources as I get a chance to check them out. The content below is from here on the Burning Man website.

But what I really want is a list of all the academic articles on Burning Man! That I will have to build another way. Keep reading to see LadyBee’s curated list of Burning Man books and prepared to be skooled!

BURNING MAN by Plunkett and Weiners, Hardwired 1997

The first book about Burning Man, with essays by Janelle Brown, Erik Davis, Larry Harvey, Kevin Kelly and Bruce Sterling; images by Barbara Traub, Stewart Harvey, Geoffrey Clifford, Gerry Gropp, Kevin Kelly and others.

BURNING MAN – Photographs by Vincent Huang, published by author in Japan, 2001.

Vincent’s colorful photos of the event from 1997-2000, with an introductory essay by the photographer.

DRAMA IN THE DESERT – The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man by Holly Kreuter, Raised Barn Press, 2002.

Holly’s photographs, with essays and poems by Dave Eggers, Larry Harvey, Daniel Terdiman, Rob Brezny, Mark Van Proyen, and others. CD of photos included.

THIS IS BURNING MAN- The Rise of an American Underground by Brian Doherty, Little, Brown and Company, 2004.

“Doherty captures the extraordinary spirit of the festival – its whimsy, its danger, its strangeness, its absurdity – as well as the outrageous genius of its artists and players.”

AFTERBURN – Reflections on Burning Man, edited by Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen, University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

Essays by the editors and Erik Davis, Robert V. Kozinets and John F. Sherry, Jr., Katherine Chen, JoAnne Northrup, Jeremy Hockett, Allegra Fortunati and Sarah M. Pike.

DESERT TO DREAM – A Decade of Burning Man Photography by Barbara Traub, Immedium, 2006.

Barb’s photos from 1994-2003, with an introduction by Les Blank and foreward by Larry Harvey.

BURNING BOOK – A Visual History of Burning Man by Jessica Bruder, Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007.

“Bruder explores the unique ethos and breathtaking art installations that have shaped the event, along with Black Rock City’s distinctive landmarks, pranks, lore, and gift-based economy.” Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and ephemera.

BURNING MAN – Art in the Desert by Leo Nash, Abrams 2007.

Black and white photographs and text by Leo Nash, introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck. ” A loving tribute to the art of Burning Man.”

BURNING MAN LIVE – 13 Years of Piss Clear, Black Rock City’s alternative newspaper, by Adrian Roberts, ReSearch Publications, 2007.

All 34 issues of Piss Clear, BRC’s alternative newspaper, from 1995 to 2007, with an essay by Malderor and introduction by Brian Doherty.

ENABLING CREATIVE CHAOS- The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event by Katherine K. Chen, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

9780520260887-1“How a small, underfunded group of organizers transformed into an unconventional corporation with a multi-million dollar budget and two thousand volunteers….this remarkable evolution offers important lessons for managers in any organization, particularly in uncertain times.”

THEATER IN A CROWDED FIRE – Ritual and Spirituality at Burning Man by Lee Gilmore, University of California Press, 2010.

“Gilmore’s study brings new voices and experiences to current debates about religion versus spirituality through her richly textured descriptions of the characters, events, and spaces that make up the seemingly strange but culturally significant festival.” CD included.

ON THE EDGE OF UTOPIA – Performance and Ritual at Burning Man by Rachel Bowditch, Seagull Books, 2010.

A study of burning Man’s new types of performance, installation art, community and invented rituals that bridge ancient traditions to the 21st century.

THE PEOPLE OF BURNING MAN – Portraits of Revolutionary Spirits by Julian Cash, self-published in 2011.

A decade of Julian’s playful, inventive portraits taken in a white tent on the playa.

THE TRIBES OF BURNING MAN – How an Experimental City in the Desert is Shaping the New American Counterculture by Steven T. Jones, Consortium of Collective Consciousness, 2011.

The author’s journey through Burning Man’s culture from 2004 through 2011.

BLACK ROCK CITY, NV – The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man by Philippe Glade, Real Paper Books, 2011.

Text and photos by the author, who has documented structures on the playa since 1996. Includes a comprehensive resource guide.

DANCING WITH THE PLAYA MESSIAH by George Post, Dragon Fotografix, 2012.

Featuring nearly 1000 of George’s best photographs from 21 years of attendance at Burning Man (1991 – 2011), this is the most comprehensive book on the event ever published.


BREAKING OPEN THE HEAD, A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism by Daniel Pinchbeck, Broadway Books, 2002.

Chapter 12: a Cybernetic Pulse Engine and chapter 13: Dr. Megavolt, take place at Burning Man 2000 and 2001.

TIME, SPACE AND THE MARKET: RETROSCAPES RISING by Steven Brown and John F. Sherry, ME Sharpe Inc., 2003 Chapter 2:

Bespectacled and Bespoken by John F. Sherry Jr.; Chapter 11: The Moment of Infinite Fire by Robert V. Kozinets, “To write the chapters of this book, Sherry and Brown tapped some of the keenest minds currently investigating marketing and consumption questions with the perspicacious eye of anthropologists and cultural observers. Moving from the spiritual to the theoretical, there is also some very solid theory-building scholarship present in the book.”

YOGA FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO DO IT by Geoff Dyer, Vintage Books, 2003.

A witty travel book, including a chapter, The Zone, on Geoff’s trip to Burning Man in 1999.

BLACK ROCK BY Peter Goin and Paul F. Starrs, University of Nevada Press, 2005.

A chapter on Burning Man and several photos throughout the book.

SPECTACLE by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, Phaidon, 2006.

12 page chapter on Burning Man, with 8 photos, essays by the author and and interview with Larry Harvey.

THE VISIONARY STATE – A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape by Erik Davis, with photographs by Michael Rauner, Chronicle Books, 2006.

6 page chapter, Temple Burn, on David Best’s temples and their spiritual significance at the event.

TIME – GREAT PLACES OF HISTORY: Civilization’s 100 Most Important Sites, an Illustrated Journey, Time, 2011. # 100:

Burning Man: Photo of Big Rig Jig, photo of Crude Awakening figures and short text.

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