• No Simple Highway

  • A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead
  • By: Peter Richardson
  • Narrated by: David Gans
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For almost three decades, the Grateful Dead was America's most popular touring band. No Simple Highway is the first book to ask the simple question of why - and attempt to answer it. Drawing on new research, interviews, and a fresh supply of material from the Grateful Dead archives, author Peter Richardson vividly recounts the Dead's colorful history, adding new insight into everything from the Acid Tests to the band's formation of their own record label to their massive late-career success, while probing the riddle of the Dead's vast and durable appeal.

Arguing that the band successfully tapped three powerful utopian ideals - for ecstasy, mobility, and community - it also shows how the Dead's lived experience with these ideals struck deep chords with two generations of American youth and continues today.

Routinely caricatured by the mainstream media, the Grateful Dead are often portrayed as grizzled hippy throwbacks with a cult following of burned-out stoners. No Simple Highway corrects that impression, revealing them to be one of the most popular, versatile, and resilient music ensembles in the second half of the 20th century. The band's history has been well-documented by insiders, but its unique and sustained appeal has yet to be explored fully. At last, this legendary American musical institution is given the serious and entertaining examination it richly deserves. 

©2014 Peter Richardson (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

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Best of the dead bios

I’ve read 4-5 dead histories over the years and this is the most interesting one. It is full of intriguing insights and colorful anecdotes. The focus is on the cultural history and how the dead’s story fits in the broader picture of western history and arts.

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Another top book on The Grateful Dead

No Simple Highway is in league with the few other books on TGD that are definitive and encyclopedic. This one explores the Dead in in the broader context of what was going on in society across the USA at the same time. That’s one of things I love about this book. The information provided here on the Dead and their associates is new, no repeat of what I’ve read in other books. Together, each of these top few books on Dead help to create a full picture. New detail, nuance, events and particulars of who, where, and why. For those who are fascinated with this unique and amazing band, their family and associates and the history changing events they made happen as they continued to move forward, this book is a must have. That the Dead were able to pull off what they did in such a successful way without ever trying to engage the normal business models is amazing, and I don’t think it could ever happen again. It’s almost like the world we live in now is a direct result of societal and legal restrictions that were created one by one in order to or put an end to the unpredictable freedoms which the Dead successfully evoked. “Oh what? They did that? OK well that’s going to happen again and we’ll create laws, rules, restrictions, political theater and punitive, divisive measures in order to prevent a repeat all that which the Dead made happen.” I guess that’s the cause and effect which accompanies an authoritarian agenda. Most of what happened was a result of Garcia’s values, beliefs and intentions. What a mind. We’re all lucky that Jerry was here, even now. This history can’t be rewritten. They can put an end to freedoms but the seed and concepts of the mindset can’t be taken away. If you’re Dead fan this book is essential.