Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke

Dean Kuipers, Author
Dean Kuipers, Author , Bloomsbury $24.95 (374p) ISBN 978-1-59691-142-0
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-59691-990-7
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During early September 2001, federal and state law enforcement agents staked out a farm in rural southwest Michigan. By the time they departed, farm owner Tom Crosslin and his life partner, Rollie Rohm, had been killed by government bullets. Los Angeles journalist Kuipers, who grew up 20 miles from the shootings, explains how and why the two men ended up dead in his third book (after I Am a Bullet ). Crosslin, a brawler by nature but also an astute businessman in rural real estate, founded the farm in 1993 as a refuge for marijuana smokers, disaffected gays, lovers of live musical performances and libertarians. Rohm's 11-year-old son by a previous heterosexual marriage also lived on the farm. Prosecuting attorney Scott Teter, unwilling to accept the illegal substance use on the land, charged Crosslin and Rohm with growing marijuana in their home, tried to place Rohm's son with a social services agency and began proceedings to confiscate the land. But he met resistance from Crosslin and Rohn, who decided to destroy the property by fire. Drawing on extensive interviews, government documents and news coverage, the author verges on portraying the prosecutor as evil incarnate. But Kuipers doesn't cross the line from sound journalism into advocacy, while letting the story unfold through superbly detailed characterizations and skillful pacing. (July)

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