Sweeney Reads at Book Plate in Chestertown on May 25


St. Michaels author Gerald F. Sweeney has completed a series of seven novels called The Columbiad that follows one family through the 20th Century. The saga’s final novel, Comes the Electric Circus, will be featured at his reading at the Book Plate in Chestertown on May 25th at 2pm. His topic: “How the Mild 50’s Transformed into the Wild Sixties.”

Comes the Electric Circus is a novel that reflects the tumultuous changes that occurred between the traditional 1950s and the mind-blowing 60s. It’s the story of two young Manhattanites at a time when New York becomes the world’s capital of finance and the arts. The novel captures the evolution of their love in the midst of the radical developments in the social and intellectual shifts that reshaped America.

Working in the lively television and magazine communication business, the couple witnesses conventional, conservative values spin out of control with the advent of the sexual revolution, the Beats, the Boomers, cool jazz, New Journalism, the rise of television and the continued escalation of the Cold War and Space Race. How does a young couple survive the mayhem and maintain their closeness?

Alice Casey is one of the “Today Show Girls” who brightens up of live television. Jim Mahoney is a would-be writer learning the fast-paced magazine business. Their love story flourishes in the bright settings of Manhattan and environs: cocktails at the Plaza, concerts at Carnegie Hall, ballet at City Center, weekends in the Hamptons, visits to the Newport Music Festivals and Tanglewood.

On their way, they listen to cool jazz, argue with the Beats about drugs, come across the New York Intellectuals, discover New Journalism and the New Theater. Jim is witness to racial unrest in the South. The couple was there at the creation of the forces that would fully emerge in the explosive 1960’s.

The other books in The Columbiad series include Eagles Rising, First Lights, Crashing into Sunrise, A Tournament of a Distinguished White Order, Yo Columbia! and Wizard Ho!

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