About the Book: The Pipe Dreamers

Author Sandra Gurvis was a freshman on another Ohio campus during the shootings at Kent State and the experience compelled her to find the answers to the reasons behind the colleges' turmoil, a quest which took over 25 years, countless visits to university archives and interviews, and dozens of revisions as she grew and matured as a writer and a person. Along with several articles and a nonfiction book in progress, WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWER CHILDREN GONE?, the result is the novel, THE PIPE DREAMERS. Set mostly at fictional Hayes University, a state college in the small town of Hampton, Ohio, it encompasses the student unrest regarding Vietnam, the sexual revolution, the rejection of parental values, and drugs.

The story concentrates on an innocent sorority girl, Julia Brandon and the charming and seemingly carefree boy she loves, Randall "Win" Winfield, who is running from a troubled past and the inevitable draft. The following motley group of rebels become entangled in their lives:

Louis Wexler, a former medic in Vietnam and leader of the protest movement who is in love with Julia

Valerie Stazyck, Julia's best friend and radical roommate whose free spirit is hampered by her entanglement with a married professor

Adrian Shaffley, the professor's son, who is as confused about his sexual and political identity as he is about his feelings for Valerie and his father

Felix Watts, a militant who goes from one school to the next and plans on shaking things up at this nearly all-white college

Deputy Cal Adams, whose bitterness and anger towards the protesters are fueled by the untimely death of his brother in Vietnam.

The novel opens in 1985 when Julia catches a glimpse of a man she believes to be Win on a beach of Jamaica. The story then flashes back to 1969, as first blood is drawn on campus. Julia's subsequent liberalization, the development of her relationship with Win, and the drawing of the battle lines at Hayes culminate in a final conflict that almost annihilates her, causing her to lose the two people she cares for the most.

Fifteen years later, Julia realizes she must come to terms with her past. She embarks on a journey back to Hayes and eventually to London, where Win is living. The voyage threatens her sanity and happiness as she struggles to learn how to listen to inner feelings. Can she accept the truth about what happened so long ago without destroying herself and those she loves?

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