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It's All a Kind of Magic: The Young Ken Keseyby Rick Dodgson
Synopses & Reviews
Counterculture icon and best-selling author of the anti-authoritarian novels One Flew Over the Cuckooandrsquo;s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey said he was andldquo;too young to be a beatnik and too old to be a hippie.andrdquo; Itandrsquo;s All a Kind of Magic is the first biography of Kesey. It reveals a youthful life of brilliance and eccentricity that encompassed wrestling, writing, farming, magic and ventriloquism, CIA-funded experiments with hallucinatory drugs, and a notable cast of characters that would come to include Wallace Stegner, Larry McMurtry, Tom Wolfe, Neal Cassady, Timothy Leary, the Grateful Dead, and Hunter S. Thompson.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Based on meticulous research and many interviews with friends and family, Rick Dodgsonandrsquo;s biography documents Keseyandrsquo;s early life, from his time growing up in Oregon through his college years, his first drug experiences, and the writing of his most famous books. While a graduate student in creative writing at Stanford University in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kesey worked the night shift at the Menlo Park Veterans Administration hospital, where he earned extra money taking LSD and other psychedelic drugs for medical studies. Soon he and his bohemian crowd of friends were using the same substances to conduct their own experiments, exploring the frontiers of their minds and testing the boundaries of their society.
and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; With the success of One Flew Over the Cuckooandrsquo;s Nest, Kesey moved to La Honda, California, in the foothills of San Mateo County, creating a scene that Hunter S. Thompson remembered as the andldquo;world capital of madness.andrdquo; There, Kesey and his growing band of Merry Prankster friends began hosting psychedelic parties and living a andldquo;hippieandrdquo; lifestyle before anyone knew what that meant. Tom Wolfeandrsquo;s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test mythologized Keseyandrsquo;s adventures in the 1960s.
and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; and#160; Illustrated with rarely seen photographs, Itandrsquo;s All a Kind of Magic depicts a precocious young man brimming with self-confidence and ambition whoandmdash;through talent, instinct, and fearless spectacleandmdash;made his life into a performance, a wild magic act that electrified American and world culture.
"'Kesey's name is so identified with the sixties that it is easy to forget that he was a product of the forties and fifties,' writes Lakeland College historian Dodgson in his pleasant, if slight biography of the charismatic author's early life. Exploring the forces that influenced Kesey — best known as the author of One Flew over the Cukoo's Nest and, later, as a member of the Merry Pranksters — Dodgson places the author in his historical context. The volume follows Kesey from his birth in Colorado in 1935 through his years at the University of Oregon, to the famed Stanford University writing program that also nurtured Larry McMurtry and Robert Stone. Kesey took part in early LSD experimentation, and Dodgson does an excellent job of describing the drug culture of the era. Since Dodgson only takes his subject up to the early 1960s and J.F.K.'s assassination, he leaves readers tantalizingly looking ahead to the tumultuous late '60s. Dodgson's preface entertainingly explains how he came to write about Kesey for his dissertation, eventually meeting the man himself. Kesey allowed the young historian access to his personal papers, and, along with his Prankster cohort Ken Babbs, proved supportive and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, permission to quote from the unpublished sources was rescinded, and the book reflects the absence of Kesey's unfettered voice. Photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Despite J. D. Salingers many silences—from the publication of The Catcher in the Rye to his absence from the public eye after 1965 to his death in 2010—the unforgettable characters of his novel and short stories continue to speak to generations of readers and writers. Letters to J. D. Salinger includes more than 150 personal letters addressed to Salinger from well-known writers, editors, critics, journalists, and other luminaries, as well as from students, teachers, and readers around the world, some of whom had just discovered Salinger for the first time. Their voices testify to the lasting impression Salingers ideas and emotions have made on so many diverse lives.
About the Author
Rick Dodgson is associate professor of history at Lakeland College in Wisconsin. English by birth but global by inclination, he has lived much of his life outside the United Kingdom. In his younger years, he worked as a plumber, heating engineer, soccer referee, handyman, Mediterranean deckhand, and teacher of English in a village on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. He is also the creator and producer of Mission to the Stars: A Space Rock Opera. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Cast of Characters
1 Sparks Fly Upward
2 From Hollywood to the Written Word
3 Sin Hollow
4 A Royal Road to Insight
5 Better Living through Chemistry
6 Sometimes a Great Notion
7 A New Prometheus
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