CONFESSIONS OF A RAVING, UNCONFINED NUT by Paul Krassner

CONFESSIONS OF A RAVING, UNCONFINED NUT

Misadventures in the Counterculture

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Actually, on the evidence here, Krassner--founder/editor of The Realist and the most outrageous cultural critic of his era--no longer raves now that he's in his 60s. Which is just as well, because otherwise it's hard to imagine the provocateur who published spurious outtakes of The Death of a President that had LBJ having sex with JFK's corpse being mellowed out enough to write this affectionate memoir of his countercultural life and times. Much of the fun here comes from sharing Krassner's gallery of famous friends, limned in generally crisp portraits and starting with publisher Lyle Stuart, who in 1958 bankrolled The Realist; Stuart's then-employer, Bill Gaines of Mad; and, a bit later, comic/junkie Lenny Bruce. As The Realist's fame grew, so did Krassner's circle, which came to encompass Groucho Marx (who took LSD with the author and soared on Bach); Abbie Hoffman (gutsy, wired) and Jerry Rubin (with whom Krassner formed the Yippie Party); Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, John Lennon; Manson-slaves Sandra Good and Squeaky Fromme (who nearly seduced Krassner into a mÇnage Ö trois); and Larry Flynt (who in the late 70's hired Krassner as publisher of Hustler). Also nostalgia-worthy are Krassner's sepia-tinged memoirs of his N.Y.C. childhood (especially a humorous run-in with a dwarf at Coney Island) and of his first glimmers of the absurd. More personal-emotional and less interesting are his recollections of his paranoid breakdown in the 70's, and, a decade later, of his grappling with his daughter's sexual awakening; more scattered are his most recent memories, of reviving The Realist and joining the 60's Memory Lane circuit. There's little of the edgy naughtiness here that, at its peak, had Krassner publish an infamous cartoon of Disney characters at an orgy; what's taken its place is an engaging avuncular impishness that Krassner wears well--and even with dignity. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen) (First serial to Playboy and High Times)

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-67770-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




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