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Publisher's Summary

John Perry Barlow’s wild ride with the Grateful Dead was just part of a Zelig-like life that took him from a childhood as ranching royalty in Wyoming to membership in the Internet Hall of Fame as a digital free speech advocate. 

Mother American Night is the wild, funny, heartbreaking, and often unbelievable (yet completely true) story of an American icon. Born into a powerful Wyoming political family, John Perry Barlow wrote the lyrics for thirty Grateful Dead songs while also running his family’s cattle ranch. He hung out in Andy Warhol’s Factory, went on a date with the Dalai Lama’s sister, and accidentally shot Bob Weir in the face on the eve of his own wedding. As a favor to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Barlow mentored a young JFK Jr., and the two then became lifelong friends. Despite being a freely self-confessed acidhead, he served as Dick Cheney’s campaign manager during Cheney’s first run for Congress. And after befriending a legendary early group of computer hackers known as the Legion of Doom, Barlow became a renowned Internet guru who then co-founded the groundbreaking Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

His résumé only hints of the richness of a life lived on the edge. Blessed with an incredible sense of humor and a unique voice, Barlow was a born storyteller in the tradition of Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Through intimate portraits of friends and acquaintances from Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia to Timothy Leary and Steve Jobs, Mother American Night traces the generational passage by which the counterculture became the culture, and it shows why learning to accept love may be the hardest thing we ever ask of ourselves.

©2018 John Perry Barlow and Robert Greenfield (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Wondrous tales of the hippie highway by Grateful Dead lyricist and internet pioneer Barlow. The author died recently after a long series of illnesses that form a moody counterpoint to the general anarchist fun of his memoir. That may be a good thing considering that the statute of limitations may not yet have run out for various of the hijinks he recounts here...[Barlow] writes with rough grace and considerable poetic power...[Mother American Night] is a yarn to read, with pleasure, alongside Ringolevio and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." (Kirkus Reviews)

“Barlow was a former cowpoke, Republican politician and lyricist for the Grateful Dead whose affinity for wide open spaces and free expression transformed him into a leading defender of an unfettered internet... He championed not only a right to speak freely on the web but also what he called ‘a right to know’ all the information that it offers.” (The New York Times)

“John Perry Barlow was the dawn of digital rights for so many - including me. Mother American Night leaves no doubt why he is remembered as the first ‘Poet Laureate of Cyberspace.' Optimistic, beautiful, and often hilarious, this memoir not only recounts some of the most important battles in the first two decades of the internet, but also Barlow’s indelible footprint on American art, politics, and culture over the last 50 years." (Edward Snowden)

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Great book

I had the pleasure of knowing JPB, we weren’t best friends or anything, but we knew each other, and hung out on more than a few occasions. These are some of the stories he told me when were hanging out. JPB was one of the most interesting human beings to walk the earth, take the time to listen to his story, it’s a good one. ✌🏻❤️