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Buy for $19.95
With the Vietnam War erupting in the background, Noble Chaos presents an eye-opening immersion into the late 1960s from a college perspective, a journey through profoundly troubled times.
Set at the University of Kansas, one of the nation's most radical colleges back then, this astonishing book knits together emotional and historical truth. The novel reveals the conflicts, concessions, and conundrums of a nation’s darkest hours.
Ryan Sterling is a 19-year-old college junior navigating a moral switchback. He protests the Vietnam War while weighing patriotic implications. He loses his passion for education while remaining on the Dean's list. He defies authority while conforming to group pressure. He experiments with drugs while resisting dependency. He devours philosophy and psychology to find meaning in raging confusion.
But conflict is the price of his search for understanding. Conflict carves rifts between Ryan, his peers, and society. Conflict forces him to make game-changing choices.
Ryan's journey includes a cast of memorable characters. His lover shuns her self-indulgent past and makes the least expected confession. A cunning drug dealer squares off with Ryan's nemesis, provoking a fatal consequence of intolerance. A tradition-minded classmate transforms into a revolutionary, leading perilous confrontations with armed authorities.
For those who lived through this school year of extraordinary challenges, Noble Chaos inspires dormant and forgotten memories, an emotional perspective of the chaotic forces that turned America upon itself. For younger listeners, the novel presents the titanic experiences that provoked contemporary politics, prejudices, and popular culture.
This uncensored story also presents an intriguing parable for today. Women's rights are not yet fully achieved. Racial divisions are festering. Party politics are crushing. Clean air and water are evaporating. Native Americans are inciting. Military overreach is still threatening.
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- David Cogswell
A Plunge Back in Time to the Late '60s
I read this book before as a paperback, and know the author Brent Green, but hearing it as an audiobook was a whole new experience. It made me better appreciate how important is the medium through which you receive a story. One might think, “Well, he’s just reading the text, so it’s really no different.” But it is very different, and I can’t help but wonder how differently I might have experienced the story if I had heard it as an audiobook the first time around.
It impressed upon me how much a reader can bring a story to life. Sometimes a good reader will pick up on something I may not have picked up on in my own reading, and convey that understanding through inflection. It’s fascinating.
The reader of "Noble Chaos", Jack de Golia, is extremely impressive. He managed to give every character his own voice, but to somehow make those characterizations unobtrusive, not disrupting the flow or clouding up the connection of the listener to the narrative.
The reader also does a good job of bringing the descriptions to life. The written descriptions evoke a strong sense of place and time. The book is set in Kansas, the exact center of the continental United States, which communicates the sense that the events described in the intense anti-war cultural climate of the late ‘60s were happening from one end of the country to the other.
Brent Green does a good job of evoking the period of the late ‘60s with many details, including language I forgot I ever used, like “doing a thing” with someone you were involved in a relationship with, and period artifacts, such as a yellow Volkswagen Beetle and desert boots.
The philosophical discussions arising from the conflicts of conscience mover the Vietnam War are also reminiscent of the time period, as well as being interesting flights of speculation on their own.
Hearing the story as an audiobook brings the experience a big step closer to cinema, and it made it easy for me to imagine it as a film. If "Noble Chaos" was made into a movie I could see it becoming a hit. It could be of interest both to those who lived through the time and will be vividly reminded of it, as well as to younger people who missed the time, but always heard about it and wondered what it was really like, beyond the cliched characterizations and revisionism we are used to hearing. Here is a fictionalization of one man’s actual experience of the times, an individual point of view with universal underpinnings.
1 person found this helpful
- Vincent Curran
Takes me back
As I embarked on this book, I couldn't help but feel that I was there or, at least, soon would be.
The book is set in 1969-ish at KU. I was just a year into high school, with a few years before I got to experience many of the same things as went on here. And like a memory, it was both exhilarating and sad.
I well remember the times of unrest an uncertainty of those years. I was a bit younger than Ryan and his classmates and friends as they were creating and trying to make sense their own world, free of the confines of home and parents.
The situations around the University of Kansas at that time, were slightly more extreme and intense than what I experienced in High School, and for good reason. I still lived at home and was governed by rules, both scholastic AND Parental.
As a pirate looking back at those times, I identified with the students, remembering my college days.
Each new challenge rang true to me and each decision, along the way was matched by an 18 year old me. I made most of those same "shady" decisions regarding sex and or drugs, and came out the other side wiser, at least.
This book reminded my of another book with some of the same themes, that came out while I was a college student. "The Strawberry Statement" which was also made into a film. It's biggest claim to fame was the theme song/music from it was Crosby, Stills and Nash: "Our House", which made me think to myself, "This really needs a soundtrack." which the author, Brent has done with a running commentary on what was playing during all significant times and events. Bravo!
All I can say is, thanks for having me back!
1 person found this helpful
A unique Audiobook that should not be missed
Ryan Sterling is a University of Kansas College student who is on a journey of self-discovery and a lesson in life. A time period of flower children, love, peace, Woodstock and drugs versus the Vietnam conflict and the establishment. Sterling finds himself off track as he navigates through the multiple conflicts – everything he thought he wanted, he doesn’t and gives in to peer pressure only to discover his moral compass in jeopardy. He discovers that with challenges comes change and those changes may not always be good.
Brent Green, the author, does a magnificent job of detailing the time period drawing upon historical information and creates a story that most of us remember in one form or another. Green gives us an insider’s look into the time period told from a college student’s point of view. Although Vietnam drives most of the conflicts and precarious clashes, it remains distant – in other words, we see how the Vietnam Conflict/War affects those who remain home.
Green details the emotional rollercoaster the students take as their world becomes rooted in conflicts – racial and gender-driven conflicts, riots and protests against the military and government, plus the age of free love and sexuality.
Each character is well-developed and unique; all are essential to the storyline. Their growth moves the story along at a steady pace and the dialog is realistic and poignant. For those that lived through this time period, it is a memory that is freshened; for those that are experiencing that time through this book will find it haunting yet familiar in so many ways. Some things never change or evolve.
The narrator, Jack de Golia provides an excellent performance as always. He captures the emotions of the characters and projects them effectively. His rhythm and pace are well suited to the story and his performance fits each character. His voices are distinct and rich. I always enjoy hearing de Golia perform.
The audio production of this audiobook was well executed, there were no issues with the quality of production.
I look forward to enjoying more writings by Brent Green.
Disclaimer: This Audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.
1 person found this helpful
- Travelin' Guy
A “must hear” Audible book for Boomers
This book is a beautiful trip down memory lane!
Author Brent Green captures the essence of the Vietnam/Woodstock era with a wonderful tale and picturesque words that brings back the sounds, smells, fears, and feelings that shaped our lives. The book presents uncommon perspectives about the anti-Vietnam War struggles and student protests on campuses.
The remarkable characters remind me of people I hung with during my college days. I’m still in love with the character Jenny and wonder who she went on to be. Is she still alive today?
Noble Chaos wrestles with questions as relevant today, as ever. The sounds of the 60s music, the smell of the drugs, and the sensuousness of the sexuality are beautifully captured and remind me how I lost my innocence. As a Vietnam combat cameramen of that era, I highly recommend this marvelous novel!
Superb recording by narrator and producer Jack de Golia.
1 person found this helpful