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An editor of Rolling Stone compiles a New Journalistic study of a Missouri farmboy gone amok with an M-1 carbine in the town square of Harrisonville, April 21, 1972, near where haberdasher Truman was born. When the shooting was over, two cops, a businessman, and Charles (Ootney) Simpson were dead -- the latter blasting his own head off with a shot in the mouth. The writer captures the deja vu of this tornado-ridden town -- pressed on the one hand by nearby slick shopping centers and on the other by its home-grown weed-smoking hippie-radical dropouts who studied Hoffman and Rubin like the Bible as they waited for a revolution nearly everybody but them had stopped believing in -- and the simplistic contradictions of a dumb, warm-hearted, over-age adolescent who at various (and sometimes simultaneous) times dug hot rods, Toe-row (Thoreau), dope, offing pigs, fucking skunk/sisters, and peace in Vietnam. What we're left with, finally, is the tragedy of a guy not too much crazier than the rest of us who happened to have a gun handy when the various bullshits of his world came together -- and a town that, even when the blood was off the streets, talked about a commie conspiracy nearly everybody but them had stopped believing in, instead of trying to get it together with its wayward children who, by that time, had more or less understandably ceased to give a damn.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1973
Publisher: Random House