Forty years ago, during the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement, a large number of students at the University of California at Santa Barbara rose up in outright rebellion, burning down a branch of the Bank of America and clashing with police in three separate riots. The Isla Vista Crucible  takes place at the university and the nearby student community of Isla Vista during that tumultuous 1969-1970 academic year. The story follows three roommates trying to live and enjoy their student lives while caught up in the frenzy of that year. Casual drug use, recreational sex, rock and roll music, political activism, academic activities, race relations, and the start of the UCSB lacrosse team are all blended together against the backdrop of the turmoil of that year and the uniqueness of the Isla Vista setting.

Imagine a half square mile of apartments and houses catering mostly to students of the University just next door.  Picture the ocean on one side and the University on another side. Throw in the threat of being drafted, the allure and availability of sex and drugs, and young people genuinely trying to figure it all out while still maintaining their studies. Is it the people, the place, or the times that create the atmosphere of a particular segment of one’s life? Or is it a combination? For the three roommates, much would be tested of them during the year. The fire would burn much more than a bank, with the very soul of the nation at stake.

Reilly Ridgell
Author of THE ISLA VISTA CRUCIBLE (Savant 2012)