In Why the Grateful Dead Matter, veteran writer and lifelong Deadhead Michael Benson argues that the Grateful Dead are not simply a successful rock-and-roll band but a phenomenon central to American culture. He defends the proposition that the Grateful Dead are, in fact, a musical movement as transformative as any -ism in the artistic history of this century and the last. And a lot more fun than most. From the street festivals of Haight-Ashbury to the cross-country acid tests with the Merry Pranksters, and from the sound-and-light show at the Great Pyramid at Giza to the ecstatic outpouring of joy at Soldier Field in the summer of '15, the Grateful Dead have been at the center of American life, music, and karmic flow for fifty years. In Why the Grateful Dead Matter, Michael Benson brings it all back to life and makes a compelling case for the band's lasting cultural importance.