Steal This Dream: Abbie Hoffman & the Countercultural Revolustion in America

Larry Ratso Sloman, Author Doubleday Books $27.5 (464p) ISBN 978-0-385-41162-2
Through interviews with over 200 people who protested with or fought against Abbie Hoffman, Sloman does a brilliant job of capturing not only the Yippie leader, but also the successes and failures of the counterculture movement. As with any oral biography, much depends on who contributes. It seems that Sloman got nearly everyone to talk, a particularly daunting task when dealing with denizens of the counterculture. Sloman's own unorthodox credentials may have helped: a former editor-in-chief at High Times, he was also Howard Stern's collaborator on Private Parts and Miss America, and author of On the Road with Bob Dylan. Sloman shows that from a very early age, Hoffman was obsessed with appearances and attention, making this book the most fitting tribute yet written on the controversial 1960s icon. Weaving together quotes from the likes of Jerry Rubin, Anita Hoffman, Tom Hayden, Grace Slick and Timothy Leary, Sloman covers the often mythologized political and social events of the 1960s and Hoffman's part in them. Two such events are the ""levitation"" of the Pentagon and the disruption of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. In many of the accounts of 1968 included here, Hoffman appears as an energetic, charming creature who manipulated the media and the kids who followed him and couldn't hide his egocentric agendas. Sloman also includes snippets from interviews with Hoffman, presented chronologically until the dissident's suicide in 1989. Whether one loves or hates the self-congratulating revolutionary, this is a fascinating work of social history, presented thoughtfully and thoroughly. 40 b&w photos. Author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998
Release date: 08/01/1998
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