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Ken Kesey / Merry Pranksters Bibliography

This page lists books by or about Ken Kesey and books by or about the Merry Pranksters.

This list is not intended to be comprehensive.

Additions and corrections are welcome



Related bibliography pages:

Grateful Dead | Jerry Garcia | Robert Hunter | Bob Weir | Phil Lesh | Bill Kreutzmann | Mickey Hart | Tom Constanten | John Perry Barlow | Songbooks | Deadheads | Posters/Art | Photography | Comics | Fiction
Poetry | Tapes/Setlists | Kesey / Pranksters | Neal Cassady | Business | Recipes | Kids | Folk Tales


Books written, edited, or with a contribution by Ken Kesey

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey, 1962

Kesey's debut novel. There have been many later editions.

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Sometimes A Great Notion, Ken Kesey, 1964

Kesey's second novel. There have been many later editions.

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The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog, Ken Kesey, Paul Krassner (Eds), 1971

A collection of essays, fictions, cartoons and art work. Includes a number of essays by Ken Kesey.

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Kesey's Garage Sale, Ken Kesey and others, 1973

A collection of essays, articles, and interviews plus a screenplay.

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Spit in the Ocean #1: Old In The Streets, Editor: Ken Kesey, 1974

The first of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. Includes contributions by Nella Novak, Margo St. James, Ray Andrews, Wendell Berry, Walt Curtis, Lee Quarnstrom, Ken Kesey, Margaret Burgin, Laurence Gonzales, Henry Crow Dog, John Weigel, Ken Babbs, Mary Woods, Paul Sawyer, Gene Detro, Paul Krassner, Eve Merriam and Grandma Whittier.

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Spit in the Ocean #2: Getting There From Here, Editor: My (Ken Kesey), 1976

The second of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. Contributions from Studs T. Erkel, Ken Kesey, Gurney Norman, Nancy Jack Todd, My, Kate Millett, Peter Steel Byers, Mary Moreau & Alan Pesin, Ken Babbs, Harry Pesin, Walt Curtis, Laurence Gonzales, John Holt, Stewart Brand, Marioin Sanders and Grandma Whittier.

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Spit in the Ocean #3: Communication With Higher Intelligence, Editor: Tim Leary, 1977

The third of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. Contributions from Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Saul-Paul Sirag, Tim Hildebrand, Diane Ackerman, Jack Sarfatti, Ken Babbs, Neil Freer, James Logue, Tapani Knuutila, Joanna Leary and Grandma Whittier.

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Spit in the Ocean #4: Straight From The Guts, Editor: Lee Marrs, 1977

The fourth of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. Contributions from Grace Harwood, Marilyn Hill, Happy Hyder, Allie Light, Lee Marrs, Mugsy Peabody, Kathy Reilley, Shelby Sampson, Phyllis Speros, Grandma Whittier & Ken Kesey.

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Spit in the Ocean #5: The Pyramid Issue, Editor: Richard and Elaine Loren, 1979

The fifth of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. Contributions from Ken Kesey, Paul Krassner, Grandma Whittier and Richard and Elaine Loren. A number of the articles include references to the Grateful Dead tour to Egypt in 1978.

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Spit in the Ocean #6: The Cassady Issue, Editor: Ken Babbs, 1980

The sixth of six volumes of the literary journal published between 1974 and 1981. A special Neal Cassady issue which included previously unpublished autobiographical material by Cassady. Other contributors were John Clellon Holmes, Larry McMurtry, Katrina Daniels, Jane Burton, Diane Kesey, Anne Murphy, Malcolm McGillicuddy, Stewart Barnd, Jerry Garcia, William Burroughs, "Ramrod" Shurtliff, Carolyn Cassady, Ken Kesey, Grandma Whittier and Ron Bevirt. The short piece by Garcia, Behind The Wheel With Neal, is a reminiscence of a drive home with Cassady after an Acid Test.

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The Day After Superman Died, Ken Kesey, 1980

A largely fictional account of the death of Neal Cassady. Originally published in Esquire magazine in 1979.

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Best of The Realist: The Sixties Most Outrageously Irreverent Magazine, 1985

Includes an introduction by Ken Kesey.

An anthology of articles originally printed in The Realist.

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Demon Box, Ken Kesey, 1986

A collection of non-fictional and fictional stories and poetry.

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The Further Inquiry, Ken Kesey, 1990

Ken Kesey's recreation of the Merry Pranksters' 1964 trip across America aboard the bus "Further". Includes over 100 previously unpublished photographs.

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Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear, Ken Kesey and Barry Moser, 1990

A book for children with story by Kesey and illustrations by Moser.

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The Sea Lion: A Story of the Sea Cliff People, Ken Kesey and Neil Waldman, 1991

A book for children with story by Kesey and illustrations by Waldman.

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Sailor Song, Ken Kesey, 1992

A novel set in Alaska in 2020.

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Last Go Round: A Real Western, Ken Kesey, 1994

A novel set at the Pendleton Round-Up in 1911.

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Kesey's Jail Journal, Ken Kesey, 2003

A work assembled toward the end of the 1990's using the journal text and artwork produced by Kesey during his imprisonment in 1968 in an experimental low security prison.

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Books about Ken Kesey / Merry Pranksters

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe, 1968

A "gonzo journalist" history of the Merry Pranksters. Include lots of coverage of the Acid tests, the Pranksters and the Grateful Dead. There have been many editions over the years.

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Ken Kesey, Bruce Carnes, 1974

A short introduction to the work of Ken Kesey. Volume 12 in the Boise State University Western Writers Series.

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Ken Kesey, Barry H. Leeds, 1981

An introduction to the work of Ken Kesey. A volume in the Modern Literature Series.

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The Art of Grit: Ken Kesey's Fiction, M. Gilbert Porter, 1982

An examination to the fiction of Ken Kesey.

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Ken Kesey, Stephen L. Tanner, 1983

An examination of the novels and other writings of Ken Kesey with some biographical content.

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Aquarius Revisited: Seven Who Created the Sixties Counterculture That Changed America, Peter O. Whitmer with Bruce VanWyngarden, 1987

Portraits of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Norman Mailer, Tom Robbins, and Hunter S. Thompson plus chapters on Esalen Institute and Berkeley in the Sixties.

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On the Bus : The Complete Guide to the Legendary Trip of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and the Birth of the Counterculture, Paul Perry and Ken Babbs, 1991

A celebration of the 'fabled' cross-country bus trip made by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in 1964 and of the Acid Tests. Includes lots of photos and 'commentary' by many of the principle characters including Jerry Garcia.

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The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey, Douglas Brinkley, 1993

A chronicle of a 6 week experimental college class which crisscrossed the USA in a sleeper bus visitomg 30 states and 10 national parks. During this time the class read twelve set books by American writers. Includes a chapter Further With Ken Kesey and Bob Dylan in the Grunge Belt part of which describes the class meeting Ken Kesey.

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The Answer Is Always Yes, Paul Foster, 1995

Memories of the early Bay Area music scene from one of the Merry Pranksters.

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Spit in the Ocean #7: All About Kesey, Ed McClanahan (Ed), 2003

Between 1974 and 1981 Ken Kesey published six issues of a literary magazine called Spit In Tthe Ocean. After Kesey's death in 2001 Ed McClanahan put together this final issue of Spit In The Ocean as a tribute to Kesey. Includes contributions from Robert Stone, Paul Krassner, Wendell Berry, Bill Walton, Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow. Also includes a number of pieces by Kesey. Introduction by Gus Sant.

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Six Kesey Sketches, Ken Babbs, 2003

A 24 page booklet of scripts, with music, of six sketches about Ken Kesey. The sketches were first performed in Eugene in 2003, on the anniversary of Kesey's death.

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Prankster Memories, John Babbs, 2003

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The Hippie Narrative: A Literary Perspective on the Counterculture, Scott MacFarlane, 2007

This book examines key works of the literature of the counterculture era and uses them as a method of viewing the period as a whole. Includes a section on One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

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Stories Done: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents, Mikal Gilmore, 2009

This book includes a chapter about Ken Kesey (Ken Kesey's Great American Trip). Other chapters cover Timothy Leary, Allan Ginsberg, Jerry Garcia, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Phil Ochs, Hunter S Thompson, Jim Morrison and the Doors, the Allman Brothers, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

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Mental Illness In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Dedria Bryfonski, 2010

Part of the series Social Issues in Literature.

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It's All a Kind of Magic: The Young Ken Kesey, Rick Dodgson, 2013

A biography that covers the 1950's and 1960's.

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Conversations with Ken Kesey, Editor: Scott F. Parker, 2014

A collection of interviews dating from 1959 to 1999.

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Last updated February 2020