57 pages 1 hour read

Tom Wolfe

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 1968

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Key Figures

Tom Wolfe

Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1930, Tom Wolfe was an American journalist and author whose novels include The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. His most celebrated nonfiction works include The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. In the latter title, Wolfe examines author and counterculture figure Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters as they pioneer the psychedelic movement in the mid-1960s with their open use of LSD and their Acid Test parties, in which LSD use is combined with psychedelic rock music, lighting, and film projections. Wolfe was heavily associated with New Journalism, a style of nonfiction writing in the 1960s and 1970s in which journalists immersed themselves in their subject matter by interacting with the people they are writing about and providing vivid descriptions that draw on literary techniques, especially from fiction writing.

Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey is the main character in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and was the unofficial leader of the Merry Pranksters. He was raised in Oregon and was a star athlete in his high school and college years.