5 Groovy Things You’ll Learn from “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”


The Books That Mattered

Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) is a perfect time capsule.

Reading it today is like taking an acid trip in Mr. Peabody’s “way back machine”–it’s a frenetic, dizzying, eye-popping journey into the heart and soul of what would become known as the psychedelic era.

Acid Test is the ideal vehicle for glimpsing and vicariously experiencing the foolish/noble/brave/excessive experiment in living and consciousness that Ken Kesey and his band of followers (the so-called Merry Pranksters) ushered in.

The hippie/psychedelic movement–and what it ultimately represented–has been fiercely debated for over four decades now. But there is no debate that the one indispensable chronicle of that era is The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.


For many people nowadays, the hippie/psychedelic era is pretty much summed-up by the love beads and tie-dyed shirts and headbands they don for a Halloween costume party.

But Wolfe’s book is a vivid reminder of how much more was going on back then. Yes, there was epic foolishness and epic…

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2 responses to “5 Groovy Things You’ll Learn from “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”

  1. Chris Rupprecht

    Erich, so happy to see that The Books That Mattered is back. As always your writing is amazing. Also, loved the family pic, brought back lots of happy memories. Chris

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Hey Chris — so glad to hear from you. This is actually a repost of something I wrote a few years back, but I put it out there again in honor of of Tom Wolfe’s passing. Was sorry that you and Erhardt couldn’t be in the photo — but you guys were living in Washington, DC or Costa Rica at the time? We have great memories of those long ago days, too.

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