The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe was written in 1968 and describes the lives and adventures of Ken Kesey and his followers, the Merry Pranksters. The book describes how Ken Kesey, the famous author of One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest assembled what basically amounted to a hippie commune and then proceeded to travel around the country in a Day-Glo school bus. While travelling, the Merry Pranksters attempted to film a movie documenting their experiences with LSD and other drugs.
The title of the book comes from the Pranksters next effort, after completing their cross-country journey. Kesey and the Pranksters were firm believers in the sixties philosophy that advocated psychedelic drug use as a means for expanding the mind. In order to introduce others to their new world view, the Merry Pranksters hosted parties that they called Acid Tests. At these Acid Tests, participants took LSD and then were exposed to visual and aural stimuli aimed at heightening their hallucinogenic experience. Although police often raided these parties, LSD was not yet illegal and so no action could be taken against the Merry Pranksters.
Eventually, Ken Kesey was charged with possession of marijuana and fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution, taking many of the Pranksters with him. After spending some time in Mexico, he was arrested and extradited to the United States to stand trial. Ken Kesey was sentenced to 6 months on a work farm, followed by three years of probation. During his incarceration, most of the Pranksters drifted away to join other hippie groups that were forming.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a very vivid description of the beginnings of the psychedelic movement of the 1960's and is especially interesting because of the first-person narratives from members of the Merry Pranksters who describe what it was like to be a "head" at the time.
Some main characters of the book are: