With Kennedy in the Land of the Dead: A Novel of the 1960s
By William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)
Peace Corps Writers
January 26, 2019
$20.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)
With Kennedy in the Land of the Dead begins on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Gilbert Stone, a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Ethiopia returns home shattered and lost in the shadow of his hero. The intervening years tell the story of Stone’s struggle integrating his experience of the Peace Corps and the trauma of Kennedy’s death. His new life as a graduate student in San Francisco explodes into the 1960’s hippie movement. Stone finds himself losing his identity as a member of a commune, alienated from his former life and finally living on the streets of the Haight Ashbury. His battle with drugs, insanity and the anti-Vietnam war protests casts light on the “baby boomer” transformation into hippies and flower children. From the first dances at the Fillmore to the Human Be-in at Golden Gate Park, Stone’s struggle reflects cultural changes for generations to come. The novel ends on the day Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64) grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, and received his B.A. from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia in 1962. He majored in psychology and minored in sociology. In college he edited the literary magazine and contributed to a number of other student publications. An accomplished folk singer and guitarist, he performed in New York City Greenwich Village before moving to San Francisco. He has written short stories, plays, essays and television scripts. Having lived and worked in a half dozen cities in the U.S., he now lives in Boston. This is his first published novel.