The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe XL Taschen Book
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In 1964, famed writer Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters set off across America on a “Transcontinental Bus Tour,” headed for the New York World’s Fair, drinking (still perfectly legal) LSD-laced orange juice along the way. Kesey’s journey, in the company of his Merry Pranksters, lies at the heart of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, an as-if-first-hand account of the group’s antics and ethos by Tom Wolfe, wunderkind of the New Journalism movement. Celebrated as a classic of American literature as well as the hippie movement, the text explores both the esoteric experience of hallucinogens and fundamental societal shifts of 1960s America.
In this Collector’s Edition, signed by Tom Wolfe, an abridged Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is published in traditional letterpress, with facsimile reproductions of Wolfe’s manuscript pages, as well as Ken Kesey’s jailhouse journals, handbills and underground magazines of the period. Interweaving the prose and ephemera are photographic essays from Lawrence Schiller, whose coverage of the acid scene for Life magazine helped inspire Wolfe to write his story, and Ted Streshinsky, who accompanied Wolfe while reporting for the New York Herald Tribune.
These photographs -- together with those of poet Allen Ginsberg and other photographers who covered the scene -- paint a vivid picture of the counterculture world that set Wolfe’s scene: acid parties near “capsule corner” in Hollywood, the hippie-filled streets of Haight-Ashbury, the abandoned pie factory the Pranksters called home and the infamous Acid Tests, Kool-Aid and all.
Tom Wolfe (1931–2018) is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff, and I Am Charlotte Simmons.
Lawrence Schiller began his career as a photojournalist for Life, Time, and Paris Match, photographing some of the most iconic figures of the 1960s, from Marilyn Monroe to Barbra Streisand, from Ali and Patterson to Redford and Newman. His book projects include five New York Times bestsellers, Marilyn & Me, Barbra, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Executioner’s Song, by Norman Mailer. He has directed or produced 20 motion pictures, including the documentaries The American Dreamer and the Oscar-winning The Man Who Skied Down Everest. Among his films for television, The Executioner’s Song and Peter the Great won five Emmys.
Ted Streshinsky (1923–2003) was a photojournalist best known for his coverage of the social and political turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s in California, from migrant worker strikes to antiwar protests. His wide-ranging portrayal of the counterculture in San Francisco included the hippies, and Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters on the high-voltage night of the Acid Test Graduation.
Hardcover in a slipcase, letterpress-printed text, two different paper stocks, and tip-ins, 9.4 x 13.4 in., 6.57 lb, 356 pages