The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test

The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test

Book - 1968
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Random House, Inc.
Tom Wolfe's much-discussed kaleidoscopic non-fiction novel chronicles the tale of novelist Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. In the 1960s, Kesey led a group of psychedelic sympathizers around the country in a painted bus, presiding over LSD-induced "acid tests" all along the way. Long considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippies, Wolfe's ability to research like a reporter and simultaneously evoke the hallucinogenic indulgence of the era ensures that this book, written in 1967, will live long in the counter-culture canon of American literature.

Baker & Taylor
Relates the escapades of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, a drug-saturated group of hippies who journey in and out of trouble with the law.

& Taylor

Wolfe details his wild cross-country ride with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, offering a vivid portrayal of the hippy subculture in its own joyful, psychedelic, excessive, and terrifying colors. Reprint.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [1968]
ISBN: 9780553208535
Characteristics: viii, 416 p. 24 cm


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Sep 22, 2018

This is a hard read. Fascinating, but exhausting at times. The hippies are really romanticized these days. If they really were the way they're depicted here, they just seem like a bunch of self-absorbed, self-righteous folks more interested in shocking squares than genuinely changing the world for the better. Guess I'm just not "on the bus."

However, a book isn't bad just because you sympathize little with its subjects. As a record of 1960s counterculture, this is interesting, even essential reading.

May 16, 2018

Tom Wolfe's greatest work. It had a more profound effect on me than Catcher in the Rye. RIP T. Wolfe.

Feb 20, 2018

This is a very awkward book to rate; its quite wild in its phraseology and the events it relates are equally wild... ridiculous... and unbelievable. There was some interesting facts in it, like how unoriginal the Beatles were and how derivative was their Magical Mystery Tour, but some facts were left undiscussed, like the laws prohibiting LSD (the prohibition seems to have no scientific basis, and none from the point of view of maintaining public order). The personalities and ad hoc-ness of it all come through... but through a crazy haze of dizzying words: it seems his goal mentioned in the note at the end of the book was achieved.

Nov 19, 2014

A freewheeling, adrenalin- (and other substances) fueled joyride into the 60s hippie/acid culture. Wolfe was there, right in the mix with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and comes back with an often hilarious and always entertaining account of his observations.

Jan 05, 2012

"In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information o the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world."

daymakerdave Feb 19, 2011


mburke26 Jul 06, 2009

An excellent read as a follow up to Jack Kerouac's "On the Road". The two encompass similar time frames and characters.


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