Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neighardt
You have to give props to Native culture, which has always had a tremendous influence on the history of the counterculture, starting with the Tuscarora at Congo Square in New Orleans, birthplace of the improvisational culture we know today as the counterculture. Even though the Natives were much more advanced spiritually, European culture certainly did its best to destroy their vibrant and vibratory ceremonies. Black Elk was one of the most enlightened holy men to ever come down the pike in any culture and this book is a good place to start if you want some idea of how their ceremonies actually work.
The Yankee and Cowboy War by Carl Oglesby
Oglesby was the most articulate and intelligent leader to emerge from the SDS movement, and this book blew conspiracy theory wide open when it traced the links between the Kennedy assassination and Watergate very early in the game. Oglesby tried to penetrate the conflicts inside the Oligarachy that controls America. Especially groundbreaking was Olgesby’s analysis of the war between the Rockefellers and Howard Hughes that probably resulted in Hughes being neutralized. Whether they killed him and put a puppet in his place, or whether they just kidnapped and drugged him into submission is a question that may never get answered.
America’s Secret Establishment by Antony Sutton
This book got completely ignored by the mainstream, and for good reasons. Sutton was a leading economist at the Hoover Institute when he stumbled onto one of the greatest secrets in the world: The Oligarchy controlling America was involved in setting up Hitler and Communism in order to milk war for profit. Sutton detailed how a secret society at Yale University played a key role in transforming our country into a highly-centralized and heavily-controlled state. But then societies like Skull & Bones exist at every major university where the Oligarchy sends its kids to prepare them on how to run the world.
Terror or Love? by Bommi Baumann
Was the 1960s counterculture revolution intentionally led into violence in order to neutralize the hippie movement? Germany’s leading revolutionary certainly thinks so. It’s a toss-up which book will be harder to find, this one or Carl Oglesby’s. I understand Bommi is now a successful capitalist and landowner in Germany. I would certainly love to meet this guy, since he remains one of the greatest unsung heroes of our time, someone who turned away from terror to embrace the core values of the spiritual revolution of the 1960s.
Wilderness of Mirrors by David C. Martin
Just how crazy are the people who run the CIA? They don’t get any crazier than James Jesus Angleton, the super paranoid king of spooks. Martin is a true insider: Yale grad, Navy vet, and Newsweek correspondent, and I spoke to him after reading this stunning book. I wanted to know if Angleton conspired with William Harvey to assassinate JFK. Martin was strenuous in denying any such connection, but now I know better: Angleton, Harvey and Johnny Rosselli were undoubtedly among the key players in that crime.
Gold Warriors by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave
For decades the hidden gold from WWII has been the CIA’s most closely guarded secret. Rather than return all the gold stolen by the Nazi’s and Japanese, certain highly-placed individuals inside the Oligarchy decided to secretly move the gold into secret funds that could be used to manipulate world events. Nixon probably ran afoul of the CIA when he returned one of these multi-billion dollar accounts back to the Japanese, which may be why the CIA decided to take him out of power through Watergate. You need to read this book to discover how the world really works.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Tom Wolfe was a Yale grad sent straight from the heart of the establishment to report on the emergence of the second counterculture messiah, Ken Kesey (who was already in jail by the time the book came out). Wolfe never connected with the cosmic side of the movement, and, in fact, made fun of its spirituality, but he was a good enough journalist to get the basic story right. Today, I view Kesey as our Odysseus and the magic bus ride as a prophetic message. Perhaps we need to band into tribes and become more migratory as the earth changes set in (just like the original Sakka’s who spread cannabis across the globe). This book remains the best portrait of Kesey and his merry band, and I love the fact my copy is signed by many Pranksters, including the Great Kenmaster Kesey himself.
Calvin Tomkins was one of my biggest early influences as a writer. I just love his approach to art, which concentrates on personalities instead of theories. Gerald and Sara Murphy led enlightened lives and you can learn a lot by reading about them. This book begins as a fun read but ultimately turns tragic. And at under 150 pages, it will go very, very fast.
Chronicles by Bob Dylan
As if becoming the leading poet of his generation and then leading the folk movement into rock and becoming the first counterculture messiah (and then turning that job down emphatically and going into hiding) wasn’t enough, Bob Dylan had to unveil an entire new dimension of his artistic abilities with the release of this masterpiece of counterculture literature in 2004. I especially like the encounters he had with Skull & Bones member Archibald MacLeish, who positively drips with evil vibrations as he tries (unsuccessfully) to pull Dylan into a Broadway production he’s developing. This book has a unique perspective on the sixties from the very tip of the lightning rod.
One of the most insightful books every written about the Kennedy assassination, Russell figured out there were plenty of people willing to talk about the case who had important info to share, especially the sons and daughters of CIA agents who felt their parents were somehow involved. Even more important, Russell made contact with the one undercover agent who tried very hard to blow the whistle and prevent the assassination, Richard Case Nagell. Russell is now a co-author with Jesse Ventura.
Additional shout-outs to: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Treason in America by Anton Chaikin, The Franklin Scandal by Nick Bryant, A Terrible Mistake by H.P. Albarelli and Octopus Conspiracy by Steven Hager (that’s me!)