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on 3 June 2012
I received this book initially when it was available for free on Amazon and it looked like an interesting read. As soon as I got reading it I was hooked. I also made friends with the author on Facebook and we have since been in touch with each other quite a bit.

John's travels throughout 1969 are really interesting and reading the book feels like John is sat there with you telling you the stories of his travels.

The only negative thing I would say about the book is the fact that in several places I was left wondering which stories were fact and which were fictional. This is probably because it is very easy to get to know the author in the way that the book is written and so you wonder which bits are the true John Cassell.

I would recommend anyone to take a read of this book. I am now looking forward to start reading Odyssey: 1970 - the next book in the series
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on 22 December 2014
Good simple read
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on 2 May 2008
>> I'd already begun the battle to secure a berth for myself in a seminary at Berkeley, having submitted the necessary applications and labored over the essay which was supposed to explain in detail why I wanted to become an Anglican priest. All my friends and family had their own ideas on the subject, ranging from the worst reasons to the best. Mine, I am afraid, would have probably surprised them all and could never have been included in the essay. In truth, I was looking for a dream world to inhabit, a small country parish in the west of England where I could write scholarly theological works, drink scotch, and go prematurely senile minding a turnip garden. <<

For me, there's no substitute for reading a passage of the author's own words, to get a sense of whether you'd want to read a book.

When I read that passage, I was already pulling for this warm, intelligent, spirited young man to succeed in living in that dream world, even though I feared that reality of pure scholarly theology might not even exist within some of the darkened political arenas of religious sanctuaries. I wanted that world to exist, if only for John Cassell to be able to cloister himself into that dreamed type of sacred luxury of religious ecstasy and intrigue.

As the novel's plot developed, and I saw how John was blocked from entry into that dream world, it was too clear that another world and path awaited this young man's footprints. It didn't take long before the author Cassell's words immersed the reader into subcultures of different paths and possibilities, each disallowed or road-forked-way for various reasons. Each time I fully shared John's disappointments, as I admired his ways of moving ever onward into whatever experiences he lived, through nightmares and joys, catastrophes and raptures, empty spaces and intrigues.

One thing John's life and his books do not provide is any whiff or hint of boredom. Enthrallment is in there!

In this case, the enthrallment was not only through a philosophical journey with fascinating directional changes; it's one of the most unusual, intimate travelogues you'll ever read about a USA citizen touring Europe and North Africa.

I recommend taking the journeys through Cassell's novels, either in physical book form, and/or through Kindle.

There are a few logical ways to approach a first step into reading the sequential counterculture novels of John W. Cassell:

-- One is to begin with CROSSROADS: 1969 (published 2005) and follow that with AN AQUARIAN TRAGEDY: 1970 (published 2006 under pseudonym James Mundell). An Aquarian Tragedy

-- Another is to begin with SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS (published November, 2007) Soldier of Aquarius: 1969-1970 SoA is a compilation of the two above novels; the two component novels were formatted for each other in their original united state.

After reading the pair of books (CR & AAT) or the original manuscript which had both of those novels in one (SoA), the road fork would offer:

-- ODYSSEY: 1970 Odyssey: 1970

That novel gives a brief summary of CR, then covers the plot of AAT with a few chapters added to extend the protagonist's experiences through the whole year of '70, the effect of which broadens the view (through the expanded time structure and interjected research of major, news-breaking events) of what Cassell calls the Counterculture movement, with its multi-angle-motivations (realistically exposing dark and bright). Whereas CR & AAT focus on an individual's personal perspective of how he reacted to and worked within and through those timeframes; ODYSSEY presents a broader cultural perspective, looking outward into the world as well as inward into the psychological, sociological impositions and enhancements of the same individual.

John Cassel's suggestion is to read CR:69 + Odyssey:1970... or S of A.

Then, the sequence would be as follows:

-- HELL'S QUEST: 1971 Hell's Quest: 1971

This novel continues from the base of either of the above alternatives, through the same protagonist, based on the author himself. In HQ, however, the author adds extensive (and fascinating) fictionalized elements to some of his biographical base, whereas the other novels listed above are based strongly on autobiographical realities.

-- DEVILLIER'S COUNTRY BLUES: 1972 DeVilliers County Blues: 1972

This novel continues where HQ leaves off, including the addition of fictionalized elements into a biographical basis, with the balance of fiction continuing to increase.

-- UNCERTAIN PARADISE: 1973: Part 1 (Release scheduled for late December, 2007)

This novel continues where DCB leaves off, with the balance of fiction again increasing. This novel is a satisfying read in itself, even if Part 2 does not materialize.

You will want more of JWC's novels, no matter what books you read first.

Get in at the beginning of classic literature in the making,
Linda G. Shelnutt

Shelnutt is the author of several Amazon Kindle books and Amazon Shorts, including THE ROSE AND THE PYRAMID (also a collector's item in trade paperback), MYRTLE'S ULTIMATE MYSTERY, and
Morning Comes: the Pre Dawn Blues - Part 1
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