Tuesday, February 03, 2015
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS -- The remaining members of the Grateful Dead recently announced that they will give their final performances in July in Chicago. But the story of the iconic San Francisco band, which turns 50 this year, is still being written. Peter Richardson’s detailed history adds a substantial chapter to its legacy. The Dead was formed in the Bay Area’s counterculture crucible of free love, radical politics and widespread experimentation with psychoactive drugs; Richardson documents the group’s enduring appeal by setting its music in the context of the era. Relying on research, interviews and material from Grateful Dead archives, the author, who teaches Humanities and American Studies at San Francisco State University, writes of the band’s rise against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War, political upheaval and social change. Richardson attributes much of its success to a focus on community, mobility and transcendence.