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The electric kool-aid acid test by Tom Wolfe

The electric kool-aid acid test (original 1968; edition 1969)

by Tom Wolfe

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5,307591,244 (3.81)122
Title:The electric kool-aid acid test
Authors:Tom Wolfe
Info:New York : Bantam Books, 1969.

Work details

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (1968)

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    orlando85: This book goes inside the LSD drug world, by someone who actually experienced it. It goes well with Wolfe, who talks about that world as a journalist.

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English (56)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
A psychedelic read and a half! The book is full of references, wordplay, and cultural icons. It is written extremely well and has power and poise to it, but also appeals to the senses and is a gargantuan in scope.

Overall, I was quite impressed. 4 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 17, 2018 |
Read this first back in 76 or 77 when I was going throygh my first hippy/beat phase (actually I'm still going through that phase!)Read the book more times than I can count must be 30 - wil no doubt read it again soon. ( )
  Dithreabhach | May 8, 2018 |
It took me a long time to read this book. I kept walking away from it. I get that Tom Wolfe was trying to do something new and fresh with the writing style, but it ended up being just annoying and hard to follow. I read in another review that he was trying to emulate an LSD trip. Maybe you have to be on LSD to find the writing profound, or just be a lot younger than middle-aged. Ken Kesey sounds like an intolerable jerk with an ego problem to me, and the Merry Pranksters sound a lot like a cult. I guess against the context of the times (mid-1960s), taking off on a drug-fueled cross-country road trip in a psychedelic bus was the wildest thing EVER, so shocking and free! I can appreciate the appeal of an adventurous road trip, but from the perspective of the twenty-first century, these people just sound disorganized and drugged out. I cannot even believe these people had children with them during this chaos. Also, there are a couple of bad drug experiences in here that get treated cavalierly by the Pranksters, which actually sounded frightening for the people involved. The book is also much longer than it needs to be. I'm glad I read it, because I think this book is a cultural marker, but I would not have finished it otherwise. ( )
  azulaco | Mar 20, 2018 |
2.5/5 stars
Fascinating time in history... bridging the beats and the hippies. Although I find this period fascinating... I hoped this book would be better/more interesting. Again: this is important work... but I also just feel like Wolfe is an outsider painfully trying to appear to belong, and that most of these people aren't as interesting as we would be lead to believe...
Ultimately not that much really happens... The pranksters kind of all just act dumb... and then it fizzles out. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
This is a group portrait of the Bay Area acid scene in the period 1962 to 1966. it was Wolfe's follow-up to his breakout book "The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby". This work deals far more with America's differing cultures that the relatively simple precursor, which was about excessive materialism. "The Merry Pranksters" did arrive in my consciousness sooner, as I encountered them in my neighbourhood, while I was parking cars at the Calgary Stampede. they seemed smelly and defensive to me, but obviously a variant on the kind of Yank tourist I had been dealing with earlier that day. The book itself is an iconic work, and indispensible in academic discussion of the new drug life style, still with us today. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Oct 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Wolfeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Koning, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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That's good thinking there, Cool Breeze. Cool Breeze is a kid with three or four days' beard sitting next to me on the stamped metal bottom of the open back part of a pickup truck. Bouncing along. Dipping and rising and rolling on these rotten springs like a boat.
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V.g in d/w with slight edge wear and one closed tear.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553380648, Paperback)

They say if you remember the '60s, you weren't there. But, fortunately, Tom Wolfe was there, notebook in hand, politely declining LSD while Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters fomented revolution, turning America on to a dangerously playful way of thinking as their Day-Glo conveyance, Further, made the most influential bus ride since Rosa Parks's. By taking On the Road's hero Neal Cassady as his driver on the cross-country revival tour and drawing on his own training as a magician, Kesey made Further into a bully pulpit, and linked the beat epoch with hippiedom. Paul McCartney's Many Years from Now cites Kesey as a key influence on his trippy Magical Mystery Tour film. Kesey temporarily renounced his literary magic for the cause of "tootling the multitudes"--making a spectacle of himself--and Prankster Robert Stone had to flee Kesey's wild party to get his life's work done. But in those years, Kesey's life was his work, and Wolfe infinitely multiplied the multitudes who got tootled by writing this major literary-journalistic monument to a resonant pop-culture moment.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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