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A Long Strange Trip
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About the Author

DENNIS MCNALLY graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Massachusetts. After being selected as the Grateful Dead's official historian in 1980, he assumed the band's publicity duties in 1984 and has been running that post ever since. He is the author of one previous book, Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America. He lives with his wife in San Francisco.

Reviews

The Grateful Dead forever changed popular music by ushering in the psychedelic sound of the 1960s as they valiantly toured almost nonstop for three decades and consumed loads of illegal substances. Yet the most fascinating, and revealing, thing about the Dead is their fans the Deadheads: tie-dyed, drugged up and devoted in a way that makes Beatlemania look rational. What did the Dead have that fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Moby Grape lacked? As author McNally (Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America) explains in this entertaining and well-written book, the Dead built up their loyal following by treating fans as equals, as "companions in an odyssey." After improvisation, writes McNally, "the single largest element in the Dead's weltanschauung was their pursuit of group mind under the influence of LSD...." As the Dead's publicist for more than 20 years, McNally packs this 600-pager full of intimate details otherwise unavailable, such as the time the group's janitor vetoed a suggestion from multimillion-dollar promoter Bill Graham as too "commercial." On the other hand, McNally clearly dodges the more unflattering and controversial aspects of the musicians' lives offstage; indeed, every living member of the original lineup provides glowing endorsements on the book's back cover. But perhaps McNally thinks the Dead's underside has been done to death; in any case, with a little prettifying he still manages to pen the most exhaustively researched book on the band to date. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

McNally has been the Grateful Dead's official historian since 1980. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"If you want to know what happened, why it happened, how it happened, and what it was like in the Grateful Dead, A Long Strange Trip is for you. No other book on us comes close to it." -Bob Weir

"Was it important to history? I'm not sure. Was it important to life? I know it was. A great read for those needing to know what happened between the cracks. . . ." -Bill Kreutzmann "McNally has presented an evenhanded treatment of what is arguably the most complex and multifaceted phenomenon in the history of American music. I highly recommend it to anyone who really wants to know what we are all about." -Owsley "Bear" Stanley "It's a simple tale, really. A band of misfit guys fall in love, stumble blindly onward and defy gravity, then try to kiss the face of God! This truth is better than fiction. I hope you all enjoy this odyssey as much as I have." -Mickey Hart "Dennis McNally knows the Grateful Dead as intimately as they know themselves. His historian's eye, his immersion as a Dead 'family member, ' and his crazed hippie heart have made this the book to read about the life, times, and twisted, double-helix road of the band's evolution. It's a great read." -Peter Coyote "As I read Dennis's book, I knew he is the one person who could tell the history of the Dead, and why this band survived as it attracted everyone from the so-called hippie generation to those of us firmly in the establishment. It is a well-written and valuable history." -Senator Patrick J. Leahy "No novelist, sane or otherwise, could have invented the ethereal saga of the Grateful Dead. Dennis McNally's backstage portrait of the world's most liberated rock band is full of unforgettable images, wild and funny and fascinating." -Carl Hiaasen "The Dead has been an inspiring source of light for countless people. Dennis McNally's riveting tale of the longest strangest trip will take you on a high-altitude training course and leave you prepared for the next lightning bolt of social and spiritual revelation." -Bill Walton "This is McNally's view of what went down. It's more often right than wrong and done with love, not a grudge, which goes a long way toward excusing another damned book about the Grateful Dead. Any view of us is necessarily a limited interpretation, like an aerial photo of Ground Zero. What Dennis loves and hates about us bears more weight than most interpretations because he took twenty years to get his facts straight. I'll miss him when we kill him." -Robert Hunter

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