The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

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Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test ushered in an era of New Journalism. "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, LSD, and the 1960s.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
Aug 19, 2008
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781429961141
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gonzo journalist and literary roustabout Hunter S. Thompson flies with the angels—Hell’s Angels, that is—in this short work of nonfiction.
 
“California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again.”
 
Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson’s vivid account of his experiences with California’s most notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, “For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson’s book is a thoughtful piece of work.” As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell’s Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.


From the Hardcover edition.
“An engrossing account” of the history of LSD, the psychedelic 1960s, and the clandestine mind games of the CIA (William Burroughs).

Beginning with the discovery of LSD in 1943, this “monumental social history of psychedelia” tracks the most potent drug known to science—from its use by the government during the paranoia of the Cold War to its spill-over into a revolutionary antiestablishment recreation during the Vietnam War—setting the stage for one of the great ideological battles of the decade (The Village Voice).

In the intervening years, the CIA launched a massive covert research program in the hope that LSD would serve as an espionage weapon; psychiatric pioneers came to believe that acid would shed light on the perplexing problems of mental illness; and a new generation of writers and artists in countercultural transition sought to break the “mind-forged manacles” of a new generation in rebellion—among them, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, the Beatles, Allen Ginsberg, William Mellon Hitchcock, and Abbie Hoffman. Painting an indelible portrait of an unforgettable era and using startling information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Acid Dreams also exposes one of the most bizarre, shocking, and often tragic episodes in American history.

“An important historical synthesis of the spread and effects of a drug that served as a central metaphor for an era.” —John Sayles

“Marvelously detailed . . . loaded with startling revelations.” —Los Angeles Daily News
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