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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 but also an unforgettable inside perspective on a unique moment in American history.

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061750458
List price: $10.36
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Although I never read any of Stone's novels, I loved his memoir, Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties. The only problem I had with it was that Stone gives just brief camera flashes of his experiences of that tumultuous time. His stint in the Navy, and his time spent in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, and Paris are just too briefly described, along with the cast of characters that included Kesey, Kerouac and Cassady, but man, Stone really knows how to nail a sentence and writes some lovely, thought provoking and humorous paragraphs.read more
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Maybe the bus on the cover should be a clue. That ain't THE bus, the one you were either on or not.Stone's recollections are pretty sketchy. If you're interested in finding out more about what Kesey, Cassady, or other colorful Sixties characters were like, you won't find it here. You also won't find out what formative experiences Stone had, which might have inspired his writing of his first book, which was written and published during the 1958 to 1971 time frame recounted in the book. You won't learn what he learned from Wallace Stegner, nor what authors he read during this time period. You will find some rather misanthropic comments about certain events, without much exposition on why he thinks that way. Most of these pronouncements will only exasperate the reader. He talks about how his group of friends were snobbish about drug-taking; he still seems snobbish as he again and again talks about how they blazed this trail for all the lesser beings who would come later. A basic lack of generosity informs this book. It comes off as slightly cranky and bitter. Do we need another cranky 50s-60s self-described "bohemian" to set us straight? Well, he doesn't even seem to have the energy to really do that, even. It seems like a book designed (cynically, and it's hard not to come away thinking, "Geez, this guy is cynical!") to make a buck, to cash in on all the seemingly more interesting people Stone hung out with back in the day, populating the book with some pretty tiresome namedropping (did he mention that he knew Winona Ryder's father? Well, yes, more than once) and anecdotes without a shred of illuminating commentary. And there's really nothing about why they took so many drugs, and how they affected their lives.But as someone who sweated out the draft in 1972 (yes, I knew people in that last lottery whose lives were affected), I was only puzzled by his statement upon arriving in Vietnam in 1971 that "it was over." Well, not quite. Tell that to the parents of the more than 4000 G.I.'s yet to die (source: National Archives), or even more dramatically, the vast numbers of Vietnamese who would be on the receiving end of massive B-52 raids over North Vietnam in 1972.I haven't read Stone's fiction, which is purportedly dark and pessimistic. Having read this book, I'm unlikely to.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
He saw so much... so it's a shame Robert Stone is such a boring, stodgy and prohibitively (maybe inhibitively is more accurate) formalistic writer. Ginsberg and Kesey stand as literary giants of the decade and any decade because their words and their respective voices held a mirror to the sparkling orgasmic welter of color and life and expression they saw. But poor Robbie. It seems he had a permanent stick up his bum; never could strip naked and run screaming down main street. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like he would have been a killjoy. All his retrospective cynicism gets to me, too, and makes me wonder if he ever REALLY believed...read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Although I never read any of Stone's novels, I loved his memoir, Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties. The only problem I had with it was that Stone gives just brief camera flashes of his experiences of that tumultuous time. His stint in the Navy, and his time spent in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, and Paris are just too briefly described, along with the cast of characters that included Kesey, Kerouac and Cassady, but man, Stone really knows how to nail a sentence and writes some lovely, thought provoking and humorous paragraphs.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Maybe the bus on the cover should be a clue. That ain't THE bus, the one you were either on or not.Stone's recollections are pretty sketchy. If you're interested in finding out more about what Kesey, Cassady, or other colorful Sixties characters were like, you won't find it here. You also won't find out what formative experiences Stone had, which might have inspired his writing of his first book, which was written and published during the 1958 to 1971 time frame recounted in the book. You won't learn what he learned from Wallace Stegner, nor what authors he read during this time period. You will find some rather misanthropic comments about certain events, without much exposition on why he thinks that way. Most of these pronouncements will only exasperate the reader. He talks about how his group of friends were snobbish about drug-taking; he still seems snobbish as he again and again talks about how they blazed this trail for all the lesser beings who would come later. A basic lack of generosity informs this book. It comes off as slightly cranky and bitter. Do we need another cranky 50s-60s self-described "bohemian" to set us straight? Well, he doesn't even seem to have the energy to really do that, even. It seems like a book designed (cynically, and it's hard not to come away thinking, "Geez, this guy is cynical!") to make a buck, to cash in on all the seemingly more interesting people Stone hung out with back in the day, populating the book with some pretty tiresome namedropping (did he mention that he knew Winona Ryder's father? Well, yes, more than once) and anecdotes without a shred of illuminating commentary. And there's really nothing about why they took so many drugs, and how they affected their lives.But as someone who sweated out the draft in 1972 (yes, I knew people in that last lottery whose lives were affected), I was only puzzled by his statement upon arriving in Vietnam in 1971 that "it was over." Well, not quite. Tell that to the parents of the more than 4000 G.I.'s yet to die (source: National Archives), or even more dramatically, the vast numbers of Vietnamese who would be on the receiving end of massive B-52 raids over North Vietnam in 1972.I haven't read Stone's fiction, which is purportedly dark and pessimistic. Having read this book, I'm unlikely to.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
He saw so much... so it's a shame Robert Stone is such a boring, stodgy and prohibitively (maybe inhibitively is more accurate) formalistic writer. Ginsberg and Kesey stand as literary giants of the decade and any decade because their words and their respective voices held a mirror to the sparkling orgasmic welter of color and life and expression they saw. But poor Robbie. It seems he had a permanent stick up his bum; never could strip naked and run screaming down main street. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like he would have been a killjoy. All his retrospective cynicism gets to me, too, and makes me wonder if he ever REALLY believed...
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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