The Top Ten Hits
From the Pages of

You will find below a list of our
10 Most Popular Titles,
and in the subsequent
Runners-Up File,
20 more,
listed in order of
average number of
daily hits over
the last sixty days.

§     §     §

Magic Mushrooms and
Other Highs:

From Toad Slime to Ecstasy
Paul Krassner, Editor
300 pages of pure illegality, with Ken Kesey, Stephen Gaskin, Terence McKenna, John Lennon, John Lilly, Ram Dass, Robert Anton Wilson, and, presumably (he's listed on the back cover) William S. Burroughs. We have some doubts about this last unless Burroughs is hiding under the names "Lisa Law," "R. U. Sirius," "B. Load," "I. P. Freely," and "Paul Krassner" because we could find him nowhere in this volume.

The Lost King of France:
Revolution, Revenge, and
The Search for Louis XVII
Deborah Cadbury
(Fourth Estate)
The royal family was immediately transferred to the Tuileries (The Toolshed) to await the verdict of the National Assembly which in the meantime had changed its name to the "Insurrectionary Commune." Collectively, they were known as the sans culottes ("The Flashers.") Anyone dressed like nobility --- that is, with pants --- was hunted down and given a head job so they could be carried around on pikes ... Maximilien Robespierre, founder of the Terror Party, announced that the king, queen, Marie Thérèse and Daffy should stay in the Tour d'Argent since it had been demoted to two-stars by Michelin but later they were moved to the Great Tower of the Temple where the head cheese was said to be divine, "vaut le voyage."

Moko Maori Tattoo
Hans Neleman,

(Edition Stemmle)
These photographs, almost a hundred in number, are a wonderful peek at a culture of artful difference. Some of the tattoos are delicate, understated. But some are a poke in the face, so to speak, at the world. Sinn Dog's decoration, running across the lower half of his face --- like a mask --- including nose, lips, cheeks and chin, proclaims MONGREL FOR LIFE. He is an ominous-looking dude, with or without tattoo. Meeting him in a bar, I would suspect most of us would speak to him with caution and some care. His life-time sign, right there before your eyes, says it all.

An Epic Tragedy
Diana Preston
The Lusitania was thought to be shipping arms and ammunition from America --- indeed, there was evidence for the latter --- but the sinking was ill-timed, appalled the world, and was instrumental in bringing the United States into the war ---- especially with the death of 128 Americans and the careful propaganda of the English concerning the plight of the women and children who had succumbed to the disaster.

Wanda Felix
By 1921 Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was one of the highest paid actor/directors in the motion picture business. But on September 5 of that year, during a weekend party he was throwing at the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, the water in the goldfish bowl turned murky. Virginia Rappe (Rap-pay), a girl attending the party, ran screaming from a bedroom, took sick and died four days later. On September 17 Roscoe Arbuckle was arraigned in San Francisco charged with the rape and murder of Virginia Rappe.

The Roots
Of Buddhist

Jack Kornfield
(Sounds True)
I listened to these tapes twice. First to write what you have here now. Then once more because I wanted to. It worked, or rather, Kornfield worked his magic on me. I now find myself reciting some of his stories by heart. The master who was asked by his students if he was enlightened.

    Enlightened? I don't know if I am enlightened. I'm a tree. Sometimes the birds come to rest in my branches. Sometimes the leaves fall. Sometimes people use me for the shade. Who knows if I am enlightened?

Nude Sculpture
5,000 Years
David Finn,

(Harry N. Abrams)
Of the almost two hundred figures represented here, some are so exquisitely sexual that one feels one might be in the presence of the "perfect" human form. Some of the Greek Classical sculptures from 2500 years ago, works of the Renaissance artists such as Baccio Bandinelli, Giambologna, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, are so inviting that we feel slightly silly, wondering that icy marble could convey such a sense of passion. The 19th Century Antonio Canova and Giovanni Dupré turns breast and buttock and thigh --- even the marble drapes covering these parts of the body --- into something that wouldn't be out of place in the pages of Playboy or Christopher Street.

Paris 1919
Six Months that
Changed the World
Margaret MacMillan
(Random House)
Paris 1919 is one of the best general interest books of historical fact and whimsy we've come across. It covers one short period, and is filled to the brim with the weird and waggish people who participated in one of the strangest gatherings of all times. This is historical writing equal to Barbara Tuchman at her best. If we did stars here at RALPH, we'd hand this one a


Carole Maso
(City Lights)
As with all great pornography, there is no need to be specific. (The more specific, the more it dulls the senses.) No --- what you want to do is use the words as a hint, to whirl one around, dipping in here and there, night and day, the city lovely outside, the two of them lovely in each others' arms, the language Between what I say to you in English and what I say to you in French. In the interval between what is said and the translation... and the slang In the interstices. In the liminal space. My lentil and yours. So much pleasure... In the reach. Open your French doors...

Long Time Coming
Photographic Portrait
Of America: 1935-1943
Michael Lesy, Editor
We look at these photographs of boys on their bicycles or girls jumping rope and know that now they would never be allowed out of the eyesight of their parents for a moment for the streets of America are lined with fear --- every city, town, village has had its wellspring of joy poisoned by the vision of anger and greed that the media dumps, daily, over us all --- the message that one's life is in constant danger, that there is a viciousness in the house next door, down the street, in the alleys, under the shadows that block the sunlight from what used to be the civil world and dreams of America.

Go to
The Twenty Also-Ran Top Pops


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