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Acid Christ: Ken Kesey, LSD, and the Politics of Ecstasyby Mark Christensen
"Acid Christ is an admirable book in many ways. Christensen did tons of research, knows what he's talking about and writes with an edgy energy that often produces surprising revelations. He also, for some reason, thought it was a good idea to write a 'participatory biography,' which he defines as 'how a major modern cultural figure, in this case Ken Kesey, affected the life of the author personally and subjectively.' What this means is Christensen included long, tedious chapters on his own coming of age and drug history that have nothing to do with Kesey." Jeff Baker, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
From the literary wonder boy to the countercultural guru whose cross-country bus trip inspired The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, this candid biography chronicles the life and times of cultural icon Ken Kesey from the 1960s through the 1980s. Presenting an incisive analysis of the author who described himself as "too young to be a beatnik and too old to be a hippie," this account conducts a mesmerizing journey from the perspective of Mark Christensen, an eventual member of the Kesey "flock." Featuring interviews with those within his inner circle, this exploration reveals the bestselling author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in his many forms, placing him within the framework of his time, his generation, and the zeitgeist of the psychedelic era.
"In this fascinating hybrid, Christensen chronicles Kesey, who was turned on to LSD when he volunteered to be a subject in a 1957 CIA-sponsored project testing the effects of 'a kaleidoscope of mind-blowing drugs.' Kesey stole a large stash and introduced his friends to it, becoming an apostle for hallucinogens. After publishing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, he organized the 'Merry Prankster cross-country bus tour,' made famous in Tom Wolfe's 1968 bestseller, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, the book that inspired a young Christensen to experiment with drugs. By then, Kesey was involved with the Grateful Dead, the Hell's Angels, and the creation of the rock-drug culture. Christensen focuses on the larger-than-life Kesey, '60s icon and enthusiastic proponent of illegal substances ('The American dream was about to be replaced by the American dream state'), using his own experiences to bring the period to exuberant life, and rejecting the illusion that LSD was liberating (he calls it 'a loaded gun impossible to aim'). Acid Christ is an excellent cultural history that will also stand, perhaps ironically, as a valuable companion to the very book that inspired him to take drugs. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Mark Christensen is the author of The So-Cal Speed Shop, Super Car: The Story of the Xeno, and The Sweeps: Behind the Scenes in Network TV. He is the former editor of Oregon Magazine and a media columnist for Rolling Stone. He has contributed articles to American Film, Connoisseur, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, TV Guide, and Wired. He lives in Laguna Beach, California.
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