Read Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan H. Walsh Online

Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968

A mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory--along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year, Walsh's book follows a criss-crossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and "hippie entrepreneurs," from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV's wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar.A mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks James Brown quells tensions the night after Martin Luther King is assassinated; the real-life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom. From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes, to acid experiments and hippie entrepreneurs, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place....

Title : Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
Author :
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ISBN : 9780735221345
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 368 pages
Url Type : Home » Astral » Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
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Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Reviews

  • Glenn

    This is a (too?) detailed account of events that occurred in Boston/Cambridge in 1968. A chapter is devoted to each of: the end of the folk scene, Van Morrison's band, the groundbreaking TV show "What's Happening Mr. Silver?", the opening of the Boston Tea Party, the start of WBCN, the James Brown concert the night after MLK was killed, the "Spiritualist" movement in Boston, and more. Many many chapters concern Mel Lyman's Fort Hill Community and the "Avatar" newspaper. Finally, there's a chapte ...more

  • Rebecca

    Other reviewers have already said much of what I agree with. I was lured in by the title, expecting more about Van Morrison than what I got. Reading the Epilogue I realized that the author original wrote a shorter piece and then expanded it to a full book. Also the writer had a whole team of college student workers helping with the research. The bibliography and the list of interviews is long. The book is more about Mel Lyman I think than it is about Van Morrison.

    That being said I was born just
    ...more

  • Ted Myers

    Maybe its because I was part of the Boston rock scene in the mid-sixties and knew or knew of many of the characters and events in this book, but this is one of the most engrossing works of nonfiction I have ever read. Ryan Walsh does a masterful job of weaving together many seemingly unrelated strands of music and counterculture history to create a real page-turner, with some jaw-dropping revelations. I highly recommend it to all fans of '60s music and pop culture.

  • Sumeet

    This book a treat to read if you're a 60s head and have seen a lot of films and documentaries about Woodstock, Leary and the usual subjects.

    This book uses these usual 60s references as time markers to tell you deeper, lesser known facts.

    It is a kaleidoscope of recollections from that time. Based in Boston Massachusetts, right from what was on the TV, to what was being written. While this book isn't completely about Van Morrison it paints a pretty clear picture of the time he existed in. The tr
    ...more

  • Tad Richards

    You might expect a book that takes Van Morrison’s legendary album title for its own, and suggests that it will be about Morrison’s time in Boston creating this breakthrough music, to actually be about that.

    The bad news is that if that’s what the book is supposed to be about, it does get a little lost in digressions.

    The very good news is that the digressions—Boston’s counterculture in the year of Counterculture ascendant—are far more interesting than a linear book about Van Morrison and the ma
    ...more

  • Steve Sanders

    In Astral Weeks, Ryan Walsh gives us parallel portraits of two gifted musicians —Van Morrison and Mel Lyman—and the divergent ways in which they responded to what Philip Roth called “indigenous American berserk.” Lyman channeled the rhetoric of utopia and transcendence into the Fort Hill commune, allowing the high-minded ideals to curdle into violence, exploitation, and cult of personality.

    Meanwhile, Walsh deftly illustrates how Morrison—a surly, antisocial expat, hiding out in Boston from mob-
    ...more

  • Jayne

    Lured by the title...my go to album...my #1 artist..after over 40 years...so a little disappointed that it wasn’t ALL about him or THE ALBUM or the albums that came after that...but I did learn about my new home town in a certain year of a certain age.

    There are people coming into the store to buy it who know exactly what they’re buying...I just jumped and grabbed cos it said Astral Weeks...still wish it was more about that.

  • Matt Fitz

    Born in 1968, I only discovered Van Morrison in my late teens in the 80s and felt like my parents' generation did me a disservice. That's what lured me to this book about 1968. Interesting look at not only Van Morrison, but the whole Boston music and scene, marketed as the "Bosstown Sound, which promoted the blend of psychedelic and folk rock scene. T. My disappointment with this book was it's lack of clarity and focus. It seemed more like a series of loosely connected articles about just how di ...more