The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
"An American classic" (Newsweek) that defined a generation. “An astonishing book” (The New York Times Book Review) and an unflinching portrait of Ken Kesey, his Merry Pranksters, and the 1960s.
In the 60s he teased through his hat, to great acclaim ;
his liberal dose of saucy irreverence bursts with a brisk
vein of low humor. He injected the comic strip into daily
journalism-scribbles and it became his pet province. Meanwhile,
he remains a sort of modest church lady. Some of his pieces
are swell; he's at his best when he's at his waggiest (for he
never reaches wit). As a New Journalist, he dares to probe
inner thoughts of others; be...more
I read it this time- more as an interesting history of compelling characters from a fascin...more
Now, forty some years after publication, Electric is a bit of an historical curiosity. As much as the writings of Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert or Alan Watts, it substantially contributed to the creation in the public's eye of the counter-culture. As a kid I would...more
"While the book doesn’t hold answers, it is a great read for anyone who has ever been part of a subculture. It puts the story out there in a way that is honest and fair, showing not just the idealism, but also the grime and the violence and the difficulties of rebellion against the norm and the inherent dangers in basing a movement on a mind altering drug. It might be easy to reject the story as a tale of mistaken adven...more
In The Right Stuff, he prefers Yeager and the test pilots to the astronauts who don't get to really fly their capsules.
In From Bauhaus to Our House, he loathes the European modernists (Mies et al.) and he likes FLW and Saarinen.
In The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, he sides with Kesey and the Pranksters with their undoctrinaire deployment of LSD and technology against other psy...more
"A person has all sorts of lags built into him, Kesey is saying. Once, the most basic, is the sensory lag, the lag between the time your senses receive something and you are able to react. One-thirtieth of a second is the time it takes, if you are the most alert person alive, and most people are a lot slower than that.... You can't go any faster than that... We are all doomed to spend the rest of our lives watching a movies of our lives - we are always ac...more
He came to speak to my class in one of those rare "Oh wow, Columbia Journalism might be worth it" moments. Inexplicably, he started in on a lengthy out-of-context run about how the New York Sun was a disgrace of a newspaper. I happened to be working there as a reporter at the time (and hating it), it was one of those surreal coincidences that seem to happen to me on an eerily regular basis. He asked for questions, my hand shot up first, and...more
And true to form, Wolfe's writing is engaging, entertaining, and smart.
Not only does he brilliantly capture the 'atmosphere' but he adeptly imparts the nuances.
For children of the early 50's who perhaps lived in a cave and therefore...more
But I recently restored my suppressed memory by hooking down Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," first published in 1968. The book I had avoided for thirty year...more
Kesey had been involved in CIA sponsored drug tests, which included such recreational fun things as LSD, mescalin and cocaine. The CIA knows how to party! The Merry Pran...more
The text successfully captures...more
Much like Kerouac's On the Road, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was one of those books that I tried several times to read and always failed miserably to get through the first chapter. I made it a priority of mine now to sit down with it and read the effing thing.
(Side note: I have a notebook I've kept for... a really long time... in which I started writing down books I wanted to read when I worked at a use...more
I grew up about 15 minutes from the Merry Pranksters' old stomping grounds in La Honda, and have actually found some dilapidated old remnants of tree house structures that my friends and I were 99.9% sure belonged to the Pranksters - even though the mushrooms we were on at the time might have clouded our judgement a bit.
In the first chapter, Wolfe...more
I have always been curious about the early sixties culture. with the onset of psychedelic drugs and a radical shift in music. things seem to be really interesting then. my father always says things to the effect of "everyone thought they were expanding their minds, but really they were just hurting themselves.". now i'm sure that we have a better understanding of the effects of drugs on the mind, short term and long term, now. but i wasn't sure that everyone could thi...more
I picked up this book because I was so blown away by Sometimes a Great Notion I wanted to know more about Kesey. What I found was he did too much acid to continue t...more
Tom Wolfe spent his early days as a Washington Post beat reporter, where his free-association, onomatopoetic style would later become the trademark of New Journalism. In books such as The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe delves into...more