Review Of "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test"

4349 words - 17 pages

- -Tom Wolf's 'The Electric Kool Aid Acid test' explores the magnificent and mysterious world of an age long gone but definitely not forgotten. An age of testing the boundaries of not only the human conscience but of social awareness and tolerance. An age in which seemingly anything could happen and through the eyes of a new generation of visionaries an age of enchantment and personal empowerment. I'm talking about none other than the nineteen sixties. Hippies, Hell's Angels, psychoactive drugs and a new way of thinking for a new kind of culture. This is a very in depth account of the underground drug culture's emergence in San Francisco. Not only a look at the movement from the outside but a rather compelling perspective drawn from the innards of this thriving culture is portrayed by Wolf. The book much like the emergence of the 'scene' is centered around one man, Ken Kessy. A man of power, vision, authority, and from most respect. In his retrospect Wolf digs into issues such as social views displayed by society outside the inner circle. Also ideas touched upon include the essence of the 'hippie' mentality (what makes a hippie tick) and some rare glimpses through the eyes of the LSD induced mind. Wolf takes us from the beginnings of an LSD visionary's creation through the convergence of a revolutionary subculture to one man's life as a fugitive from the law and finally an attempt at redirection. In-between we as the reader get an unadulterated realistic view of what life was really like for this subculture. We get to experience life through the eyes of a new consciousness. Many different perspectives throughout America are displayed by wolf as well. From the hippie to the middle aged American differing opinions are offered as to just what the hell is really going on. Are these kids stark raving lunatics or just crazy?We open with a pick-up truck full of very colorful characters rolling through the hills of San Francisco. A very delineative Tom Wolf showers us with a barrage of depictive narration setting the theme in our conscience for one hell of a wild ride. Our characters are in-route to a rendezvous with 'The Chief' , a.k.a. Ken Kessey. Ken has just been released on thirty five thousand dollars bail for a second conviction involving possession of marijuana. Upon arrival at the sight of interest we are introduced to a vast array of characters. Everyone present seems similar only in respect to an overlying sense of peculiarity. Energy pulses through the air and although the whole scene seems to be saturated with symbolic meaning nobody really understands what it is. Everyone appears interesting enough but lost inside their own mystery and you can definitely sense the presence of drugs. At this time literally thousands of young people have begun to move to San Francisco to pursue a life based around LSD and the psychedelic experience. I feel Tom Wolf is very successful in capturing the true essence and nature of this abstract crowd in such a...

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