I read this for a Journalism class towards my Masters Degree. I found it to be a very hard read. It has a lot of history (first hand knowledge) about the 60's "hippie" culture. I found myself longing for the end of the sentence, which could be 2 pages away. Interesting but very difficult to get through.
Wolfe highlights some interesting characters from the 60s including the Hell's Angels and Neal Cassady (whom Kerouac based his character Dean Moriaty from On The Road). If the book does nothing else, it has made me interested in becoming more familiar with Kesey's writing and long for a more relaxed drug policy to placate my (sanitized) inner hippie.
The author uses a stream- of- consciousness style of writing which is very effective for getting the psychedelic topic of his book across. Unfortunately, by page 150 I was completely over the rambly and babbled details as well as the mostly immature shenanigans of the Pranksters. (And what was with Wolfe's repeated use of the racial epithet 'spade'?)
This book reminds me loosely of HST's (who makes a brief appearance in the story) Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Having said that, I probably would have appreciated this book more had I read it when I first fell in love with HST's similar style of writing.
Sean S. reviewed The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test on
well researched, well written. Wolfe was there and he captures the zaniness of the Merry Pranksters, and the unsustainability of their lifestyle and philosophy. I recommend it to anyone who has any interest in the Sixties counterculture.
I read this thinking that it was just going to be a description of being on acid. Not at all what it was about. I was enfolded in the 60's (which if I had been born I would have a part of this group of people).
Wolfe a journalist at the time goes on the road with the Merry Pranksters. He writes about a world that is about to change for millions. People just don't know it yet. It is an exciting read, and if your not into hippy culture or you don't think the way that these people do you will never understand what you are reading. Open mindedness is the key.
A well documented story about Ken Kesey as well. I really enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed the history of the novel and imagined how I would have made it the environment created by the Merry Pranksters.
Also if you are into the Grateful Dead at all there is a small bit about how the two groups were involved for a short period. Excellent read!