Read Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties by RobertStone Online


From the New York City of Kline and De Kooning to the jazz era of New Orleans's French Quarter, to Ken Kesey's psychedelic California, Prime Green explores the 1960s in all its weird, innocent, turbulent, and fascinating glory. Building on personal vignettes from Robert Stone's travels across America, the legendary novelist offers not only a riveting and powerful memoir buFrom the New York City of Kline and De Kooning to the jazz era of New Orleans's French Quarter, to Ken Kesey's psychedelic California, Prime Green explores the 1960s in all its weird, innocent, turbulent, and fascinating glory. Building on personal vignettes from Robert Stone's travels across America, the legendary novelist offers not only a riveting and powerful memoir but also an unforgettable inside perspective on a unique moment in American history....

Title : Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties
Author :
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ISBN : 9780060957773
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties Reviews

  • William1
    2019-04-21 02:26

    I've had the good fortune to read two excellent literary memoirs in the last week or so. This one, and Paul Theroux's Sir Vidia's Shadow. Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties is and superbly written. The author's ability to compress this picaresque decade of his life into a mere 230 pages is a marvel. Stone has long been considered a writer's writer, still, I would lay odds that some of his nimble phrasing here came from honing these tales at dinner parties and other venues over the years. The book is very funny. It opens with Stone at the helm of the USS Arneb. At sea he keeps two pictures over his desk: one of Bridget Bardot, the other of the New York City skyline. These he calls the poles of his desire. His descent into yellow journalism is interesting. On discharge he went to work for the New York Daily News, perhaps no worse then than it is today, and later for a few scuzzy National Enquirer-like rags. There he was responsible for headlines such as "Mad Dentist Yanks Girl's Tongue" and "Skydiver Devoured by Starving Birds." He goes to Hollywood with Paul Newman to make his novel A Hall of Mirrors into an apparently bad movie called WUSA. I've never seen it, have you?He introduces us to Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and other works. I'm very grateful for the introduction because I've always been led to believe Kesey was a charlatan. Au contraire. Stone eulogizes his friend here as a great—if often drug-addled—man of superior learning and charisma. Kesey and his Merry Pranksters are probably most famous for setting off from Northern California in a psychedelic bus for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Neal Cassady was the driver. Yes, that Neal Cassady, Kerouac's friend, the one immortalized in On the Road. One tale of the Pranksters in Mexico—Kesey was on the run from drug charges—has Cassady clandestinely using a hypodermic to dose a roast pig with LSD and amphetamines, thus sending the many diners—Stone was one—on an unexpected journey. That LSD was originally intended as a Cold War weapon, coming out of CIA-funded studies at Stamford University, and ultimately became a popular drug which "changed the minds" of Baby Boomers and others in many ways during that time of heightened social consciousness, is an irony that resonates to this day.When Stone goes to Vietnam as a stringer, the narrative grows thin, the prose seems rushed, fragmented. But this is only in the last fifteen pages or so. The rest of the book is quite wonderful.

  • Taylor
    2019-04-01 23:02

    Two things that will color my review of this:1. I'm convinced I was born in the wrong decade. I am completely addicted to and fascinated by the '60s and '70s, to the point where it actually grieves me that I didn't live through them.2. Within the first 10 pages, I knew that Robert Stone is the kind of guy that I would have fallen head over heels for had I existed in those times and ever met him. Maybe that's a weird thing to say, and that's honestly never happened to me while reading anything else before, but I can safely say that Robert Stone is my kind of guy.It seems to me that most of the people who weren't pleased with this were upset by one of two things (or both): the realization that this is not, in fact, another Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test or memoir about Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and/or Stone's writing style, which is rather... fuzzy.This is a memoir of Stone's golden years, and he treats it as such. It's written in such a way that I can hear him telling these stories to me over a meal or a few drinks. It's a bit disjointed (but not jarringly so), and it's filled with the kind of details and retrospect that make hearing about the past so damn interesting. There are moments that are stronger than others, things that are skipped over. Everything is given the proper amount of time in accordance to its weight in his life. Nothing is overly romanticized or dramatized, just the things that probably were as they happened - sunsets in Mexico, the moment he decides to marry his wife, his experience in Vietnam. He looks back not with disappointment or exultation, not with emotions distorted by memory and time, but with respect and knowledge. His passion and excitement for these stories makes it seem as though he lived all of this just yesterday, but with the knowledge he possesses today. Because of this, it feels very honest. He's upfront about his mistakes and shortcomings and those of his comrades - he doesn't hesitate to show his mistakes with drugs or his relationships, and he admits that he thinks Kesey could've been a much more monumental figure than he was, which is a pretty bold thing to say about someone worshiped as cultishly as Kesey, especially considering the two were good friends. It's actually a little hard for me to imagine what Stone's fiction must be like, because he writes memory so well. The arc follows Stone on the wild goose chase of his life. Beginning in the Navy, it follows his early days as a war journalist and an NYC tabloid journalist, working blue collar jobs in New Orleans, writing his first novel (and seeing it turned into a movie), hanging out with Kesey and his gang (he wasn't on the entire famous bus journey, just the last few days in New York, but he did spend a lot of time with Kesey & Cassady, including their Mexican exile), living in California, London, NYC, and ending with his time in Vietnam. I rather liked that it started and ended with military service and was filled in-between with passion, debauchery, sensationalism, art and drugs. It gives him a rather grounded perspective on the era - he was clearly taken with its goals and attitudes, but not as completely as many of the decades' more famous figures.On the whole, a delightful read, particularly for those entranced by the times, for writers who like hearing about/from other writers, and for those on a true quest to live well.

  • Chris Gager
    2019-04-10 04:26

    Picked this up at the local library book sale. I've never read a novel by Mr. Stone, though I intend to. There're a lot of writers in that category! I did see "Who'll Stop the Rain," the most excellent film version of "Dog Soldiers." GREAT cast in that movie ... Certainly one of the best movies from the Vietnam era. So far we're still in the late 50's. Mr. Stone is about my brother's age = 9 years older than I am.Into the middle of this now - the early 1960's - RS is in SF and hooking up with KK(Ken Kesey). I read Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" so I'm already somewhat familiar with the events being covered. Still, it's an entertaining and informative ride. The author includes plenty of drug lore, including some history of LSD, of which I never partook. I agree with him that hallucinogens can affect one's thinking. I think that my own marijuana use(mainly in the late 60's and early 70's) was enlightening for me. I think it helped me see the world in a bigger, more objective way that got around all sorts of American cultural indoctrination. Of course, there was plenty it didn't help me see(mainly about myself). I can't bring myself to actually recommend drug use, but I do remember some fun and interesting times ... problems arise when we go down the rabbit hole too many times ... too often. It begins to take over one's life; or at least the possibility exists for that to happen - it's a risky business ...The middle of the book spends a lot of time with the Kesey exiles in Mexico. This part was covered by Tom Wolfe too. The "Carmen Gutierrez" story in NYC was in the New Yorker long ago - very funny. "Kid ... put some PIZZAZZ in it!"Moving on as RS moves to Hollywood to work on the screenplay for "WUSA"(based on his first book) and learns a harsh but inevitable lesson. If you try to bleep with Hollywood you'll be the one getting bleeped. Still, he did get some dough out of it even if the movie was crap(though I admit 've never seen it). I don't know if this book will cover his next La-La Land experience with "Dog Soldiers." Doesn't look like it will.Finished over the weekend. A fine book by a fine writer. Too bad it didn't continue, but then it wouldn't have been just about the sixties. I need to order up some R. Stone from inter-library loan!RS in Vietnam ..."How many times did journalists in the line hear the bitterness of drafted soldiers, risking it all for their buddies, for their personal honor, even - God help us - for their country, as they had been told and believed? How many times did one hear it: You don't have to be here, you're here to make money off it, you could be anywhere you wanted - with your high school and your college - anywhere - but you're here, you sick son of a bitch, here, because you eat this shit up, don't you, and I hope you die, you rotten-hearted motherfucker, I hope you die. Many times."- 4.5* rounds down to 4*.

  • Howard
    2019-04-19 00:15

    Smart guy, wonderful voice, fascinating time to live through, interesting life, great sense of perspective on himself. Even though he knew Kesey & co., it's not really about that; it's about a smart young man figuring out how the world works and where he fit into it as a writer and otherwise. The voice here, it has the faintest hint of Damon Runyon to it, that slightly self-conscious New York thing, as well as some phrasing left over from the sixties, so it seems like a palimpsest of growing up in NYC and living through these times. Or maybe it was just what he was reading. Anyway, I enjoyed every sentence of this. Very distinct, friendly, self-deprecating in subtle ways. Also, his politics are great, as well as his honesty about how he grew into them. He gets a little starry-eyed about the times, which I gather some people find off-putting, but it's really about his youth; he just happened to be young at a time when it could be particularly rewarding("but to be young was very heaven" to quote a much quoted quote in this context). He has the same response to spending a few weeks sleeping on the floor at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, though, but that's the kind of thing that stops being magical after you're thirty or forty or so.

  • Patty
    2019-03-27 06:03

    I should have stopped reading this book long before the end. I don't know why I kept going. Stone has had an interesting life, he has met some fascinating people, but by the end I really didn't care.How can such an acclaimed author, he won the National Book Award for Dog Soldiers, make such a hash of his own story?I guess if you are doing research about the 1960's you might want to look at this, but otherwise, I don't recommend it.

  • David
    2019-04-08 06:04

    60s memoir by a novelist who crossed paths with Ken Kesey and Richard Alpert and Alger Hiss, lived in San Francisco and London and New York, had his first book made into a movie by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and did some reporting in Viet Nam. All of which makes it sound more interesting than it was. There is a decent amount of space given over to pointless anecdotes (Neal Cassady used to stand by the side of the road in Mexico and salute passing vehicles by holding up a hammer he carried everywhere -- hmmmmmm. cool), drug escapades, and unremarkable observations (I've neither written fiction nor worked on movie, but even I have heard that it's very common to be disappointed in how your writing is handled by Hollywood).He can definitely write, and there are some memorable scenes incl. a cross-country trip via Greyhound in which he's picked on by some Navy guys from Pittsburgh, but for the most part his talent is not put to great use here.

  • Tim
    2019-03-31 23:18

    I've thought about reading this book multiple times in the past, but having no particular interest in -- or rather, an aversion to -- old hippie memoirs, I put it down. But what was I thinking?!-- this is Robert Stone, a fabulous writer, and I can see after a very few pages that this is going to be a very interesting book.Boy was I wrong about that. He did start the book out with a well-written account of a sight that moved him from his Navy days, a mass migration of penguins in the water... but what followed was a very lazy disjointed rambling account of the sixties that was most unmemorable. It ends weakly with the line "my only regret is that we didn't prevail" although what "prevailing" could mean for the disjointed and dissolute adventurers he describes I can't imagine.A disappointing and boring book.

  • Tom
    2019-03-26 03:22

    Even those interested in writer Robert Stone and sixties counter-culture may be slightly disappointed by Prime Green. Chapter 12, published as a separate piece in the New Yorker, is a chronicle of Ken Kesey's flight to Mexico after his 1965 drug arrest. A cynical take on the mutation of the mid-sixties "hippy" culture, it is the best section of the book. The remainder of the book has a much narrower, more personal focus and does not provide much historical perspective. Unfortunately, as a personal memoir, it is about as revealing as a social calendar. Events are recounted without much context or continuity and we never really learn much about Stone's evolution as a writer during what must have been his formative years.

  • Adam
    2019-04-20 22:27

    A rambling and entertaining memoir. Sometimes quite dark(as expected) but also pretty funny at times(as not expected). Stone's life and book definitely hit a lot of the key moments of the era including the Merry Pranksters, Hollywood in transition, culture wars, Manson Family, Vietnam, Jim Crow south, ex patriot life,and others while offering a interesting and unsentimental picture of them. The squandered hopes of an era of compromised revolution haunt this book. His take that the hedonism and freedom of the time birthed both the war on drugs and silicon valley alongside the moral tragedy of the Vietnam makes this book both an indictment, elegy, and celebration of the era and how it births the present and future.

  • Kevin
    2019-04-10 00:14

    Once you get used to the odd (to my ear) diction, this memoir of the 1960s by semi-Beat Robert Stone is engrossing and often touching. His description of a long cross-country bus ride that ended in his peril simply due to his having a beard speaks volumes about the epoch. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the larger cultural milieu of "the sixties."

  • FrankH
    2019-04-02 04:03

    One of my favorite fiction writers looking back on the sixties..alternately funny and horrifying..stories about tabloid journalism in New York, Louisiana and Ken Kesey in Northern California...Paraphrasing his comment 'If you can remember being on the bus, then you probably weren't on the bus' ... A definite must for fans of Flag For Sunrise, Damascus Gate and Children of the Light.

  • Peter
    2019-04-04 00:07

    This is a fantastic and very artful memoir of Stone's life in the 1960s. Extremely interesting. Talks about the violence that lurked beneath the surface of that ostensibly peaceful decade. From the NY Times review: "the current of time feels swifter than usual and the fight against it fiercer, stranger."

  • Jim
    2019-03-30 03:17

    Overall a disappointment. It was a little self-indulgent and lost my interest about 2/3 of the way through.

  • Steve
    2019-04-12 00:06

    Kind of a weird experience. Looking for something to read, decide on a memoir, come across this on my shelves, decide to read. About 40 pp in, decide to look up what Stone has been up to since I last read him (Bay of Souls) and find out on Wikipedia that he had died just hours before I picked up his book! "REviews" her on Goodreads are kind of interesting, since many of them seem to be disappointed that Stone, a major American novelist of the last 50 years, did not spend more time telling them in his own memoir about Kesey and various beatniks he hung out with in his younger days. I, on the other hand, actually read it because I admire his own writing and wanted to find out more about an author who, throughout his career, has been rather quite about himself. I met him a couple times in the '90's - he was *not* chatty! More than the '60's, the memoir starts out with his Naval experience in the late '50's and goers into his time as a stringer journalist in Viet Nam. Interestingly he has little to say about his classes and professors at Stanford, with only one brief mention of Stegner. I've always viewed him as more of a "man's writer", and even then was surprised by his admission of the influence of Hemingway on his writing. he is also a "dark writer" and that comes into play quite a bit here in the '60's as the California of Peace and Love becomes the California of hard drugs and Charles Manson. While he tells many stories of his life (including infidelity to his wife of decades, and drug use - including in front of the 2 children they had early on, and the dire poverty in which they often lived) what impressed me most about this book was his attempts to make sense of it all. Not satisfied with the superficial, and obviously a reader of more than fiction, he actually tries to place his life stories in a larger context of movements and events in America and the world. It was a welcome reminder to me why I loved him as an author so much - he entertained on the surface, but always added deeper context to the stories he told. So, if you're looking for a book all about Kesey and the beatniks (Stone seemed to be with them, but on the edge, never really "joining" them), go somewhere else (do you go to Hemingway and then complain he didn't spend enough time in "A Moveable Feast" telling us about Fitzgerald?). If you want an open, incisive memoir from one of the more reticent, great authors of the past 50 years - give this a read.

  • Jerry Brabenec
    2019-04-21 00:02

    A good Sixties memoir, in which Stone casts himself as a rather hapless picaresque observer on the margins of the military, Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, hack writing in various settings, the summer of love, Hollywood, and the Vietnam war. He calls New Orleans "self-referential" twice in the same chapter. He says he read Kerouac's "On the Road" and never believed anybody actually talked like Dean Moriarty until he actually got to know the real life character, Neal Casady, the bus driver for the Pranksters.He writes a lot about writing his first novel, "A Hall of Mirrors", about an alcoholic ex-classical clarinetist moving down the rungs as a radio DJ in the late 60s who ends up working at a far right radio station in New Orleans. It's powerful and despairing and the depiction of racism and social injustice imbedded in our culture seems truer than ever. In this memoir Stone abjectly apologizes for the movie version, "WUSA", which was a pet project of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.Stone's next novel, "Dog Soldiers", won the National Book Award.In Stone's memoir the Sixties was an era when old institutions like the newspapers were on their way out but a writer could still learn a lot, when it was easier to find places that were simple and unspoiled, but the paranoia of the modern world was already subverting everything. He takes us from before the Summer of Love to after Charles Manson. His prose style is subtle and distinct, he's a hell of a writer. There are lots of references and names dropped to track down, he doesn't stop to explain things much. In the end he doesn't apologize for the hubris of the era, when the young counterculture actually thought they were reinventing the world, and I'm glad.

  • Nick H
    2019-04-09 03:18

    I was drawn to this at the library with a general interest in all things 60's related. I had no prior knowledge that Stone was a prominent novelist. Nor did I know of his association with Ken Kesey, Neal Cassidy, and the Merry Pranksters, and didn't recall him being mentioned in my reading of the "Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test." I suppose that is neither here nor there. From what I've read of Stone after learning that he is a very highly regarded novelist of the era. In light of this, I was somewhat disappointed. His experiences in the era are extremely interesting, and he seems to be a thread running through several of the major happenings of the 60's, capped by his time spent in Vietnam in '71 to research content for his second novel. I suppose for the person that was there, these experiences take on the "drabness" that one's personal encounters can take on over time. I suppose this is to be expected. Stone does expound on some of the prevalent issues of the time (Vietnam, culture clash, drugs, the mass exodus of youths to the coasts) which gets more at what I was looking for to tie in a little better with his personal narrative. It also suffers from a confusing presentation of time line, seeming to lack continuity. The subject matter is interesting enough, especially from the lips of one who experienced so many great people of the time and so many life-changing events, all while maintaining what seems to have been a strong marriage, and the successful upbringing of his children together with his wife. A quick read, it's worth picking up if you are into the era of drugs/Kesey/Kerouac/Cassidy/hippies-a-la-beatniks.

  • Jon
    2019-04-20 00:13

    I can't remember when I started and finished this book, but it was some time ago. I'm afraid this is going to be a rather incomplete review based on my recollected impressions of the book.Stone starts out by giving the reader a quick background on his life up until the time he joined the Navy in the late 1950s. He was raised by a single Mother who worked as a school teacher and they lived in relative poverty in New York City. He joined the Navy as much to escape this life and travel as anything else. It seems he made connection with Ken Kesey on the West Coast in the early 60s after he got out of the Navy. Stone became part of the group of Kesey's friends who went on to become the Merry Pranksters. It was through this group he came in contact with Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac's close friend and the model for one of the main characters in "On the Road". Stone accompanied Cassady, Kesey and others on the now legendary Merry Pranksters cross country road trip in 1964 that became the basis for the book "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" by Ken Kesey.It was on this trip that Stone met Kerouac when the Pranksters arrived on the East Coast. His impressions of the Jack Kerouac of 1964 are not favorable. Apparently, the two did not hit it off and Kerouac treated Stone like something of a hanger-on. Stone portrays Kerouac, five years before his death, as an embittered alcoholic. The book does include some great photos of Ken Kesey and Jack Kerouac at this meeting smoking a joint while wearing the American flag.The end of the 1960s found Stone in New Orleans where he ended up writing his first book "Hall of Mirrors" which was published in 1967.

  • Brian Stillman
    2019-04-13 02:06

    Richard Ford spit on Colson Whitehead. So every time I see Ford's name I think of this incident. Ford provides the sole blurb on the hardcover release of this memoir. His glowing sputteringly empty of substance paragraph grew and grew in intensity every time I thought about it and probably colored my reaction to the memoir. Its not bad but it feels sketchy in places. A big selling point seems to be Stone's relationship with Kesey, but that relationship is not gone into in any substantial detail. Kesey flits in and out of the story. Stone seems to reminisce in more detail about wild boars in Big Sur than he does Kesey. His prose style is maddeningly obtuse at times. Lots of commas, descriptive blurps. I'm tempted to run some of his sentences through Word to see it light up red, put off by the word choices and the sense they lack on that first read through. You're not supposed to make people aware of the fact that they're reading, damnit. Maybe I'm confused since Ford states Stone has "all the writerly refinements" and writes with great "clarity". Damn that blurb. The book is worth reading for the bus trip episode alone - not a Merry Pranksters trip, but poor Stone in Pennsylvania, mistaken for a no good hippie.

  • Bert
    2019-04-07 01:15

    Stone can really write, and there are some great, funny and startling passages here. Prime Green combines the author's own personal recollections of the Sixties with a more general insight into the struggles and changes his generation went through, and he does it with insight and wisecracks and mostly i thought it was great, if a little anecdotal. I think Stone consciously avoids easy generalisations and the tendency to draw lines which hindsight brings, I don't know, it felt like something was lacking though, maybe I was hoping for something intensely personal, after reading Patti's Just Kids I think I'm asking for too much from this kind of memoir. I did love the chapter about hiking with Kesey while the moon landing was taking place, really puts you in the strangeness of that moment, of what it symbolised, the sadness of it too, the unpoeticness of it. That these huge events were happening while in a forest somewhere these guys were getting bitten by ladybirds. Stuff like that, that the history books fail to do, and which Stone occasionally manages to do, are worth all the retreading of familiar and already swamped territory.

  • Riley
    2019-04-16 22:11

    It is difficult to understate how disappointing this memoir of the 1960s is. You'd expect that Robert Stone, who was on the bus with Ken Kesey, would have as much insight into the era as anyone. But if that's the case, it didn't come out in this book. Instead, Stone largely comes across as shallow and boring.One bon mot that I liked (which came in the epilogue, which shows how scattershot this work is):"One principle of international reportage familiar to any traveler or expatriate must be that newspapers try to tell their readers what those readers believe they already know about the countries reported on. Rarely do stories appear in which Frenchmen, Britons, Americans, Germans. Russians, et cetera behave in a manner utterly different from the national character that has been established for them (no doubt with a degree of their own collaboration) by decades of journalistic vaudeville, cartoons, and accent comedy. This is only one aspect of the newspaper business strategy of making a reader feel as knowledgeably at home in the great world as he is in his favorite living-room chair."

  • Emily
    2019-04-03 04:29

    Maybe it just doesn't interest me to read a memoir of an era. _Prime Green_ isn't about human relationships or personal development. It's a recollection of anecdotes, some of them very humorous (or at least humorously delivered), that capture the social phenomena, etc, that made the 60s unique. The prose is careful and precise. Throughout, I felt that the present side of the narrative (that is, the reflection coming from 2007, when the book was written) was unstable--it seemed like the recollection could have been written in 1997, or, even more so, 1987, based on the author's ambivalent perception of the present (even though the author mentions recent events, such as Katrina). There's a line in the last paragraph that particularly interests me: "We were the chief victims of our own mistakes." I like that by using the qualifier "chief" Stone acknowledges that those living the legacy of that "clamorous and vain" generation (his words) also experience the consequences of its mistakes. Perhaps a little more awareness of that aspect could have given the book greater foregrounding.

  • Owen Goldin
    2019-04-15 05:16

    Stone is often considered to have been not quite a Merry Pranster, but he was very much there, on the "bus," if not the bus, and, outside of Kesey, was the only one who could really write. From his novels one might think that he is among the bitter who sees only the wreckage and disappointment of the awakenings of the 60s but this moving memoir shows that this is not so at all -- the ideals still burn bright for him -- and it is this that allows him to write with such moving eloquence of failure against steep odds.Along with fascinating glimpses of the world of Kesey -- whom Stone sustained the deepest admiration, there are terrific vignettes of a stint in the Navy, Ram Dass (who comes off as something of a shady character), New Orleans, Paris, being beaten to a pulp at a truch stop for having a beard, working for the supermarket tabloids, Vietnam, and a botched stint in Hollywood. With each word perfectly chosen.

  • Bookmarks Magazine
    2019-04-04 05:28

    Robert Stone adds his voice to our collective meditation on the 1960s in this hard-edged retelling of his involvement in the counterculture. Critics considered this memoir a worthy entry, a sharp and darkly humorous insider's look into the intellectual and cultural climate of an era. Some were disappointed by the long threads of chronological anecdotes. According to the Los Angeles Times, "There's a difference between memory and memoir, which requires not just recollection but reflection, a perspective and a point of view." Perhaps it is enough that, in recreating his defining years, Stone allows us a glimpse into the framework of his novels. Prime Green will appeal to fans of his fiction as well as to fans of the era itself.This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  • John
    2019-04-24 03:10

    Since I just traveled to Woodstock and Bethel,and since I have an opportunity to see one of my favorite novelists (Stone) on November 19th at the Philly Free Library,it was fitting I would pick up this book. While I somewhat expected a witty memoir of his adventures with the Merry Pranksters in their day-glo Hippie bus,this book was dark, political and reflexive, and was more about the change and philosophy of the the age than about the adventures of Dean Moriary,Kesey and company. Stone is a dark and somewhat angry chronicler of this time,and I should have known from his novels that he was not going to take a light approach to this most turbulent time in the 20th Century.

  • Craig Werner
    2019-04-13 04:25

    Decent read for those who are already with the events Stone observed and was a part of, most notably the transition from beat to hippie culture; Ken Kesey's road trip on the magic bus, Furthermore; the Hollywood world surrounding the Manson murders; and the Vietnam War in its depressing last phase. Like many memoirs, it's not particularly unified; the reading experience is a bit like sitting around listening to Stone spin yarns about his experience as an aspiring writer against the backdrop of rapid social change. The reflections in the epilog offer some nice phrasings on fairly standard themes of aspiration and failure. Glad I read it, but it's basically on the sixties obsessive shelf.

  • Alex Kudera
    2019-04-23 04:07

    This was a fun, easy read and included a lot on Kesey, Kerouac, Cassidy et al, which was a cool surprise for me (I went in blind, without even a back-cover perusal). I just picked up Exley's Pages from a Cold Island, for a reread, and I'd forgotten he has a few cents worth on the Sixties as well, so in a strange way the two are complementing each other. "Helping" by Robert Stone has always been one of my favorite substance-abuse stories (with much more to it), but I can't say I've read any of his novels.

  • Dave
    2019-04-08 04:05

    "Measuring ourselves against the masters of the present, we regret nothing except our failure to prevail."an engrossing book about my generation by one of my favourite writers living the hemingway dream. he went everywhere i would have wanted to go and took notes. summed up of course it makes my life seem smaller and less focussed but that is more the function of the nature of memoir than of any true inadequacy on my part and i am grateful he put it all down. it really was a culture war we lost.

  • Jeremy Hunter
    2019-03-31 04:28

    Prime Green is a great memoir of the 1960s counter-culture. Robert Stone covers his career in the Navy, his affinity for Jazz and The Beats, cross country adventures with Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters, and war-reporting in Vietnam. What I enjoyed about Stone's narrative is that he along with like Hunter S. Thompson and Ken Kesey (all in their late twenties during the early part of the 60s, but their bohemian sensibilities) influenced a generation of Flower Children. Prime Green is well worth reading.

  • Jill
    2019-04-09 05:23

    This is a memoir by the novelist Robert Stone with a big focus on the sixties and his friendship with Ken Kesey, including his version of the cross-country, acid-trip bus trip that Tom Wolfe wrote about in The Electric Kool-Acid test. I had just read that book last year so it was great to read two versions of the same events from different points of view. This book also has some great descriptions of New York in the fifties.

  • Tomas Bensoni
    2019-04-18 05:23

    Actually started a few weeks ago. Very interesting but not at all what I expected. The bohemian element was there but much of the view of the U.S. in the 1960's was when the author was not in the U.S. It did convey the optimism that this generation would be the dawn of a new age, but failed to meet the communal freedom, as drugs and personal agendas caused many to go their separate ways, disappointed that they/we were not going to change the world.