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The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Paperback – August 19, 2008
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Kesey's theatrical metamorphosis from the distinguished author of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest to the abominable shaman of the "Acid Test" soirees that launched The Grateful Dead required Wolfe's Day-Glo prose account to endure (though Kesey's own musings in Demon Box are no slouch either). Even now, Wolfe's book gives what Wolfe clearly got from Kesey: a contact high. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Tom Wolfe is a groove and a gas. Everyone should send him money and other fine things. Hats off to Tom Wolfe!” ―Terry Southern
“The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is not simply the best book on the hippies, it is the essential book . . . the pushing, ballooning heart of the matter . . . Vibrating dazzle!” ―The New York Times
“Some consider Mailer our greatest journalist; my candidate is Wolfe.” ―Studs Terkel, Book Week
“A Day-Glo book, illuminating, merry, surreal!” ―The Washington Post
“Electrifying.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“An amazing book . . . A book that definitely gives Wolfe the edge on the nonfiction novel.” ―The Village Voice
“Among journalists, Wolfe is a genuine poet; what makes him so good is his ability to get inside, to not merely describe (although he is a superb reporter), but to get under the skin of a phenomenon and transmit its metabolic rhythm.” ―Newsweek
Top Customer Reviews
In terms of unadulterated reading enjoyment, however, this book is still my favorite. He captures the era perfectly. This was the period in the mid-sixties when the hippie philosophy and lifestyle was still genuine, before it had become commercially exploited by the mass media, before Manson and Altamont and the seeds of evil. It was an uncorrupted, pure, joyous movement and moment. Owsley was the bay area chemist who produced hits of Sandoz-quality acid that sent the children out dancing blissfully through the night and into the purple dawn. It truly looked like a brave new world. If you are young and can't undertand why former hippies wax nostalgic about it, it's primarily (at least to me) because that tiny era of innocence can never be recreated.
If ever there were a work of either fiction or non fiction that captured the essence, freedom, and expectation of a marvelous era, this is it!
One of the great non fiction works of the 20th century!
Whether for ill or well, Kesey and the Pranksters are responsible for creating much of what the popular masses call "The 60's". While reading this book, that mere (and ironic) fact becomes ever so clear.
When I recently visited Kesey at his ranch in Oregon, I asked him if Wolfe "got it right". Kesey's response? "Yes he did. But understand that he (Wolfe) gives a real East Coast version of what was essentially a West Coast phenomenon."
What I think that means essentialy validates many of the other positive reviews of this book: Wolfe uncannily possesses the ability to be "in the Pranster's world, but not of it".
This means that while Wolfe is fully willing and able to passionately incorperate the unique linguistic acrobatics of Kesey and the Pranksters in relating the narrative, he maintains somehow a cool, objective distance from all the proceedings. Kesey might be saying that while Wolfe was certainly "on the bus", he was never "ON THE BUS!".
This distance is communicated and maintained by Wolfe's refusal to judge the shennanigans. He never really says "yay" or "nay" to the invention of the "counter culture" (whatever in the hell that means). He relates the consequences both natural and man-made that befalls on such behavior, but never comes out from behind the page and says "booh!"
He wisely leaves all moral judgement in the place where it rightly belongs: in the hearts and minds of the readers.Read more ›
In terms of unadulterated reading enjoyment, however, this book is still my favorite. He captures the era perfectly. This was the period in the mid-sixties when the hippie philosophy and lifestyle was still genuine, before it had become commercially exploited by the mass media, before Manson and Altamont and the seeds of evil. It was an uncorrupted, pure, joyous movement and moment. Owsley was the bay area chemist who produced hits of Sandoz-quality acid that sent the children out dancing blissfully through the night and into the purple dawn. It truly looked like a brave new world. If you are young and can't undertand why former hippies wax nostalgic about it, it's primarily (at least to me) because that tiny era of innocence can never be recreated. The waters of cynisism have washed away all the bridges to that idyllic past. The era can, however, thanks to Tom Wolfe, be revisited. I urge you to take the tour.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great book, one of my favorites. Fascinating subject, fun to read, and extremely well written, especially since it's narrative non-fiction. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Phil
Practically as good as having lived through the 60s I imagine. Vivid, exciting, experiential, experimental, we blew it, we blew it!Published 20 days ago by Frank G
Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters become larger than life characters in Tom Wolfe's novelistic treatment of this true story based on extensive interviews with the people... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael T
Fascinating account of the cult surrounding Ken Kesey and the west coast LSD experience.Published 2 months ago by Rob
After living through the sixties, and throughout the years sampling some of the favors mentioned in this book, I thought now was a good time for re-reading this seminal novel of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by PapaPhil