Sunday, May 17, 2020

Book cover: "The Flower People"

  • Title: The Flower People
  • Author: Henry Gross
  • Cover photographer: Robert Nemser
  • Photographer for 16 pages of East Village photos: Larence Shustak (1926-2003). (Larence N. Shustak was his birth name. He also went by Lawrence Shustak and Larry Shustak, according to this website.)
  • Publisher: Ballantine (U6128)
  • Cover price: 75 cents
  • Year: 1968
  • Pages: 180
  • Format: Paperback
  • Back cover excerpt:
    "'I'd rather be an independent garbage collector than, you know, number twenty-seven in some mammoth corporation.'

    "What does it mean when thousands of middle class young Americans run away from home every year, kicking the comforts and security of the Great Society to wander through derelict ghettos, living on handouts, blowing pot and watching the world drift by?

    "In these extraordinary interviews the 'Flower Power' generation speaks out on what they left behind and what they have found in the new underground."
  • Dedication: "The author wishes to express his appreciation to all the hippies whose kindness and openness made this book possible. And special thanks to Lori, Brian, and Sally."
  • First three sentences: "Of all the interviews I conducted during the preparation of this book, the shortest may have been the most illuminating. 'Where're you headed?' I asked the long-haired hippie type thumbing a ride along the side of the road. 'Anywhere, man,' he replied — and that conluded the interview."
  • Last sentence: "Think about that."
  • Random sentence from the middle #1: "And there are trinkets galore: oddly shaped bits of glass and stone, God's eyes, candles, strings of beads, prisms, kaleidoscopes, moirĂ© patterns, and a pair of colored eyeglasses with beehive lenses that tint and multisect the outside world into a land of magic that only one who's stoned out of his mind can truly appreciate."
  • That's a nice sentence: Yes.
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: "He masticates a mouthful of frankfurter."
  • That's an unnecessary sentence: Yes.
  • Random sentence from the middle #3: "Soda cascades wantonly through his throat, producing the keenest of quenchings; then he valves off the flow with a swallow, emits an Epicurean 'Ahh,' inhales briskly, and picks up his story on the exhale."
  • That is a ... sentence: Yes.
  • Glossary: The back of the book features a glossary for folks who want to know more about the world of The Flower People. Terms include Acid Funk, Bhang, Commune, Crash Pad, Freak, Fuzz, Groovy, Guru, Head Shop, Innerspace, Karma, Owsley Blue, Zap and Zonked.
  • Total ratings or reviews on Goodreads or Amazon: Zero.
  • Review excerpt from the blog Olman's Fifty: "It's actually a pretty cool historical document. The author is a bit heavy at first with some of his framing, but the vast majority of the interviews are just the various people speaking and it's really fascinating."
  • Review excerpt (plus some interior photos) from Awful Library Books: "It is so funny to think that this group is now talking about Medicare and retirement. Can you dig it?"
  • If you like this book: Ballantine's marketing division did a good job with the "More Ballantine Books You Will Enjoy" rundown opposite the title page. These books are very "on point" with the audience:
    • The Essential Lenny Bruce, edited by John Cohen
    • I Couldn't Smoke the Grass on My Father's Lawn, by Michael Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's son)
    • Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, by D.A. Pennebaker
    • The Leader, by Gillian Freeman
    • Hell's Angels, by Hunter S. Thompson
    And the last page of the book is an advertisement for Ballantine's paperback editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Natch.

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