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Expecting to Fly

A Sixties Reckoning

Expecting to Fly
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DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO BE FIFTEEN? MARTHA TOD DUDMAN DOES.

It starts with a blue hash pipe in a shabby field and a hot, tight dance at the Mayflower Hotel, and rapidly accelerates against the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the Sixties.

Describing a time weirdly similar to today, Expecting to Fly recalls a conservative government embroiled in an increasingly unpopular war, racial tensions, and a generation of disillusioned young people looking for something meaningful to believe in -- teenagers who, like Dudman, hurled themselves into a sea of drugs and sex they weren't really ready for.

With the same passion and brutal honesty that she brought to her first book, Augusta, Gone -- the story of her daughter's troubled adolescence -- Dudman re-creates her own wild ride through the turbulent Sixties, vividly recounting scenes you probably experienced yourself.

From the prim tradition of a posh girls' school and debutante parties of Washington, D.C., to the snows of New Hampshire and the campaign for Eugene McCarthy, from living out of a knapsack in Spain to getting stoned on acid in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Expecting to Fly takes us on a blistering trip to a time when the only thing you couldn't be was shocked.

Now, years later, Dudman reflects on that time and what it means: "Which was it -- triumph, exploration, some important journey, or just a big stupid mistake, a total waste of time?"

You decide.
Simon & Schuster; June 2010
ISBN 9781439104484
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