Lecturer Peter Richardson: Grateful Dead Helped Make San Francisco A Center of Rock World'

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Friday, February 06, 2015
BOSTON GLOBE -- Having attended my first Dead show at the Hollywood Bowl in 1972 and my last at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Francisco in 1995 (and a couple dozen in between), I feel some ambivalence over the issue even as I plot to secure tickets to the Chicago shows. I wonder whether I’m indulging in sad nostalgia. It was good timing when a friend alerted me to Peter Richardson’s new book, “No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead.’’ The author, a San Francisco native and lecturer of Humanities at San Francisco State University, says in his introduction that the Dead “helped make San Francisco a center of the rock music world, and almost three decades after that, they were the nation’s most popular touring band . . . the Grateful Dead became one of the counterculture’s most distinctive and durable institutions. This book raises a deceptively simple question: why?”