Book Review: Sweet Chaos, The Grateful Dead's American Adventure by Carol Brightman

Essay by IreeMamaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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If a Deadhead was to read Carol Brightman's book Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure, they would be in for a great deal of disappointment. This book is not about the Dead, rather, it is about Carol Brightman's sixties adventures. People love to talk about themselves, and Brightman has found a venue for her tales of "radicalism." By putting a picture of the Grateful Dead on the cover of her book, with no reference to the true contents, one would assume they are about to embark on an adventure led by the Grateful Dead. Brightman has mislead her reader and brought them into her chaotic collage of anecdotes. For a book that actually fulfills the criteria of adventures of the Grateful Dead, read former manager Rock Scully's account in Living with the Dead. Brightman criticizes this book for its inability to notice any other managers, but its title is not misleading and its contents are in fact about the Dead.

After all, most people would rather hear stories about how the Dead spiked everyone's drinks with acid on Hugh Hefner's talk show in the 70's than hear about Brightman's own psychedelic experimentation.

As Brightman points out in her foreword, an angry college professor has suggested that the book be retitled "The Grateful Dead's American Adventure and Mine." This title rightly includes Brightman, but let's go further by removing the picture of the Grateful Dead on the cover and replace it with Brightman's. After all, isn't that the point of her book, to bring her own adventures into the light? She does inform the reader that she has not been able to find an adequate title for this book, which is inexcusable because she has clearly mislead her readers in order to sell her miserable excuse for a...