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.
1969: DRUGS, SEX , ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, AND REBELLION
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.
America has not been the same since these fateful years, and Noble Chaos provides an intimate exploration of an extraordinary and indelible time that still shapes the nation today.
NOBLE CHAOS is a great read, not just for those of us who lived through the Sixties, but for anyone who enjoys wonderful storytelling. Brent Green shows you things you might miss, even standing next to him.
For those of us too young to have been a baby boomer, hippy, or flower child, Noble Chaos allows us to take a vicarious ride on the psychedelic bus, without the secondhand smoke from the funny cigarettes.
The ride begins in the final phase of the sexual revolution, in 1969, with Ryan Sterling as our tour guide. This character does exactly what the reader expects: participates as little as possible in his education, flips off authority with the universal one-finger salute (figuratively speaking), and gets stoned out of his gourd.
What makes this novel interesting is that Ryan then does the last thing the reader expects: makes great grades, gives into his companions’ insistence to “go along to get along,” and manages to be a druggie without being an addict.
The obligatory sexual escapades are there, of course, as is the Vietnam War protest. Confused by everything that assails him from every direction (as we all were when we were teenagers), Ryan actively seeks answers to his questions. By not blindly acquiescing to his compatriots and the ideals of the authority figures surrounding him, he risks a fate worse than death for a teenager -- being ostracized.
Noble Chaos is a great read for those who have been there and done that as well as those who have read about it and wished they had done it.
I THINK the name nails it: Noble Chaos. Those were the Sixties, the Seventies, the age when an emerging generation my Boomer generation bumped into not just the chaos of a divided society, but the chaos of divided friendships, even of our own divided minds. Brent Greens book reminded me of passions that are oddly missing today despite similar national conflicts of war and social revolution.
YOU’LL BE instantly transposed to 1969. Noble Chaos is an extraordinary journey that chronicles the life of every kid, Ryan Sterling. He represents the passion, the confusion, and the conflicts so many of us experienced at that time. Noble Chaos is an intimate portrayal, beautifully executed. Brent Green cleverly takes us through the touchstones of those amazing and turbulent times: politics, drugs, human rights, family, sex, and academics. The quest of his central character is simple: how to make sense of the world. And although the clothes and political slogans are different today, many of the conflicts in the late sixties and early seventies remain the same. How do we deal with authority? What are the limits to our freedoms? And, yes, what are our responsibilities? Noble Chaos is a gift.