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Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers by David Ohle,Roger Martin,Susan Brosseau,William S. Burroughs

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The west coast had its Haight Ashbury. New York had its Greenwich Village. But just as vital and astounding was the loosely unified band of hippies, outlaws and freaks that lived in and around Lawrence, Kansas in the '60s. A collocation of farm kids, University hangers-on, bikers, and middle class dropouts, the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers blazed their own unique trail across the crazed landscape of the counter-culture, harvesting Kansas "hemp" for sale to unsuspecting outsiders, raising hell and kids, making love, and occasionally dying. These stories are the result of numerous tape sessions with the survivors, freely associated tales of the fantastic and bizarre, episodes of love and joy, death, desertion and loss, but always recollections that sing with exuberance. The Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers were the Midwestern partisans of the counterculture struggle against mediocrity, conformity and war. This book is truth and fiction, fiction and truth. It is, in a real sense, a document from the times. Foreword by William S. Burroughs.

Reviews (7)
Great book for its genre. Four stars because when I first read it 26 years ago, it was more compelling to me as a young Lawrence KS dweller. The books quality was in better shape than described at purchase. 5 STARS for the seller
Funny book!
This is a really fun book, should be required reading if you live in Lawrence!
Wow, this book brought days back in Lawrence, when the "Old Man" (Burroughs) had us all learning at his feet, when the world seemed new and corrupt, when Allen and Neal would "drop" by and hold court in the Ballroom of the Student Union and cannibus was in the air, everywhere in that building, when Doug and Bill worked the candy counter and just quietly watched the action take place, as poets, writers, musicians and your average anarchists of the day would come up to the counter and buy that candy bar, like famished souls hungry for a sugar fix.
"Cows Are Freaky" is an amazing chronicle of people and events that represent a defined era in American culture. The fact that these stories are true gives the book a foundation of history to stand on. To say that this work could seem like fiction is an understatement. When reality is more bazaar than fiction, one has to wonder what kind of drugs were these people traking that made them into storybook characters. Where do you find a Prop. a Chervil, a Buzzy Flashback but in comic books and works of fiction, not totally in the world we inhabit.
"Cows Are Freaky" is a book of an odyssy that comes full circle, like birth and death, and in the middle, leads us on a wondrous tale of the times, maybe even a "flashback."
Besides, you can pick it up and start reading anywhere as there's no set beginning or end, no consistent story, just dope crazed heroes rushing up to the edge of consciousness and peering into a void they did not understand, but that led them to take risks with there lives and act with abandon, like only youth can.
This record of that time stands as a marker, a benchmark of freedom of action and fearlessness that led to a loss of innocence which, to this day, has kept some from becoming part of the community and who still hold themselves apart with this badge that says, "I was there." If reality is for people who can't handle drugs, then "Cows Are Freaky" is "unreal" as we used to say. Far out!
This is a fantastic book that I've read several times, always wondering a bit who all the ''characters'' are since they're all referred to by psuedonyms. Where are they now, what happened to them after the hippie years? Today, reading an obituary of sportswriter George Kimball, I am pretty confident that he's the ''Hugo'' in this book.
As an oral history, I suppose it fulfills the requirements, but I found it repetitive. I grew up in eastern KS and made lots of trips to Lawrence as a child, as my sibs attended KU and were part of the Hemp Picker generation. I loved Lawrence and identified with its hipness, even as a child, so I thought I'd love this book. I liked it OK as a commemoration of a cool era, but didn't love it.
love it! when i read this book i feel transported back to the 60s/70s. this would have been a time when i was a baby and i wonder if my parents have similar stories.
i love reading names of places i have visited or am fondly familiar with. my mind wanders to these places and gives me the sensation of an out of body experience.
are the storytellers someone i may know now, incognito? this will always be a wonder....

ISBN: 0922820139

Rating: 4.6/5

Votes: 325

Other Formats: mobi rtf docx lrf

ISBN13: 978-0922820139

Publisher: Watermark Pr; Third Printing edition (April 1, 1991)

Language: English

Subcategory: Social Sciences

Pages: 157

Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers
Politics & Social Sciences
Author: David Ohle,Roger Martin,Susan Brosseau,William S. Burroughs
Title: Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers