Tom Sinclair
December 05, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

The American Book of the Dead: The Definitive Grateful Dead Encyclopedia

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
performer
Oliver Trager

We gave it an B+

What’s the meaning of ”The Eleven”? Who were the Warlocks? What’s the connection between Harry Belafonte and the Dead? The answers to these and other questions can be found here, amid profiles of the Dead’s members and dozens of the artists whose work influenced them; exhaustive analyses of individual songs; explanations of countercultural phenomena (Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests); and scads of tie-dyed trivia. Deadheads will no doubt welcome all this, but skeptics may find some entries over-the-top (five paragraphs on ”Mack the Knife” just because the group played the song in concert — once?). Still, The American Book of the Dead: The Definitive Grateful Dead Encyclopedia isn’t definitive: There’s nary a mention of Iron Prostate’s hilarious 1992 single ”Bring Me the Head of Jerry Garcia.” B+

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