The Pump House Gang – Tom Wolfe (1968)


The Pump House Gang is a 1968 collection of essays and journalism by Tom Wolfe. The stories in the book explored various aspects of the counterculture of the 1960s. The most famous story in the collection, from which the book takes its name, is about Jack Macpherson and his gang of surfers that frequented a sewage pump house at Windansea Beach in La Jolla, California. The Pump House Gang was published on the same day in 1968 as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Wolfe’s story about the LSD-fueled adventures of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. They were Wolfe’s first books since The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby in 1965 which, like The Pump House Gang, was a collection of Wolfe’s non-fiction essays. Though both books were well received and would go on to become best-sellers, of the two The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was heralded as an instant classic and would become the better-known of the two books. All but two of the stories in the book were written in 1965 and 1966, during the ten months after the publication of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. During this period Wolfe spent extensive time with many of his subjects, including Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy Magazine (whom Wolfe famously compared to The Great Gatsby); Carol Doda, a stripper who helped popularize breast-implants; and the surfers of the pump house. Other subjects Wolfe profiles in the book include actress Natalie Wood, the New York Hilton, then-Mod Joan Juliet Buck, the visionary media-theorist Marshall McLuhan and various socialites of New York. The essays collectively tell the story of the new status symbols and lifestyles of the 1960s and how the culture was changing from the traditional social hierarchies of the time. The success of the book cemented Wolfe as one of his generation’s most prominent social critics. …”
Wikipedia
The Pump House Gang: Introduction – Excerpt from The Pump House Gang by Tom Wolfe.
[PDF] Tom Wolfe. The new life out there
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This entry was posted in Books, Counterculture, Hippie, Ken Kesey, LSD, Marijuana, Merry Pranksters and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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