• WHIPLASH

    When the Vietnam War rolled a hand grenade into the Animal House

    From the screenwriter of The River Wild, comes a survival saga of a different kind: A coming-of-age account of his senior year at Dartmouth College... a time when the reinstatement of the draft lottery made his class of 1970 the first since WW II to graduate with a diploma -- and a draft number.

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    WHIPLASH

ABOUT THE BOOK

The 60's are back with a vengeance – —

1969 - 1970 is the climactic finale to a tumultuous decade stuck between the free love of Woodstock, and the national nightmare at Kent State. Senior Danny O'Shea, his two roommates, and their band of Dartmouth fraternity brothers confront a year of living dangerously when their draft numbers are drawn, and their road trip culture runs head-on into the specter of Vietnam.

Love, sex & beer, staples of those coming-of-age years, are joined by protests, body bags and fear. The universal - usually joyful - rites of college abruptly become a deeper, darker journey. The soundtrack shifts from Otis Redding's laid back Dock of the Bay, to Country Joe McDonald's seminal 60's protest song: "Well it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for..."

For those who drew a low draft number, they were fighting for their lives.

For more information visit: The Author's Website »


Wonder what your draft lottery number would have been if you were 18 to 26 years of age in the U.S. on December 1st, 1969?

About The Author

Denis R. O'Neill Author, Journalist, Screenwriter

Former Dartmouth hockey captain Denis O'Neill has worked as a journalist, short story writer, and writer/producer for Public Television ( Frontline, Mystery, Masterpiece Theatre, No Irish Need Apply ). He wrote the screenplays for The River Wild, starring Meryl Streep, and A Shot at Glory, starring Robert Duvall.

For more information:
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December 1st, 1969

The Night of the Draft Lottery

Four friends reminisce about the way it was... the night that Uncle Sam came calling.

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Once Upon a Time in Photos

READ THE REVIEWS

THE BOOK IS GETTING A LOT OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM READERS.

  • I’m biased, but:

    I was lucky enough to read and give my very positive input on early drafts of Whiplash - The Book, written by screenwriter and author Denis O'Neil. It's a funny and thoughtful memoir set at Dartmouth, recounting "when the Vietnam War rolled a hand grenade into the Animal House" with the re-institution of the draft. Dartmouth people, consider taking a look. Producer people, consider optioning before Denis does his NPR interview.

    by Alexis Jolly on October 8, 2013

  • Wildly entertaining read!

    This book took me right back to where I was when the lottery numbers were called. It's a poignant and sometimes raucous memoir of Dartmouth students (at a time when the very first woman was admitted to the school!) whose lives were changed immeasurably by the country's need to institute a forced lottery. A great read that you won't want to put down!

    by Good reader (Burbank, CA USA) on October 6, 2013

  • Remember the draft?

    Even though it appears O'Neill never went to class and spent most of his college years in a beer induced haze, he somehow learned to turn a phrase. The boy can write. Some moments in the book are pure poetry, and when mixed with the shenanigans that filled that last year of school, that was what gave me whiplash- in a good way. I loved this book. I kept remembering the same thoughts and worries as my brother faced the draft. Read More »

    by Pepper on November 17, 2013

  • Remember the draft?

    Even though it appears O'Neill never went to class and spent most of his college years in a beer induced haze, he somehow learned to turn a phrase. The boy can write. Some moments in the book are pure poetry, and when mixed with the shenanigans that filled that last year of school, that was what gave me whiplash- in a good way. I loved this book. I kept remembering the same thoughts and worries as my brother faced the draft. Read More »

    by Pepper on November 17, 2013

  • Remember the draft?

    Even though it appears O'Neill never went to class and spent most of his college years in a beer induced haze, he somehow learned to turn a phrase. The boy can write. Some moments in the book are pure poetry, and when mixed with the shenanigans that filled that last year of school, that was what gave me whiplash- in a good way. I loved this book. I kept remembering the same thoughts and worries as my brother faced the draft. Read More »

    by Pepper on November 17, 2013

  • When War Spoiled the Fun

    Whiplash grabbed my 65-year old butt, hauled it back to Dartmouth in the late 1960's and held me captive until I finished the last page. The scent of fraternity basement air freshener- a potent mix of stale beer, cigarettes and vomit- wafted from every page. I was reminded that beer was the beverage of choice every hour of every day of the week, at any and all occasions, including in my case moments before entering the starting gate at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival slalom race. Read More »

    by Bad1970 on November 14, 2013

  • Wildly entertaining read!

    This book took me right back to where I was when the lottery numbers were called. It's a poignant and sometimes raucous memoir of Dartmouth students (at a time when the very first woman was admitted to the school!) whose lives were changed immeasurably by the country's need to institute a forced lottery. A great read that you won't want to put down!

    by Good reader (Burbank, CA USA) on October 6, 2013

  • Remember the draft?

    Even though it appears O'Neill never went to class and spent most of his college years in a beer induced haze, he somehow learned to turn a phrase. The boy can write. Some moments in the book are pure poetry, and when mixed with the shenanigans that filled that last year of school, that was what gave me whiplash- in a good way. I loved this book. I kept remembering the same thoughts and worries as my brother faced the draft. Read More »

    by Pepper on November 17, 2013

  • Remember the draft?

    Even though it appears O'Neill never went to class and spent most of his college years in a beer induced haze, he somehow learned to turn a phrase. The boy can write. Some moments in the book are pure poetry, and when mixed with the shenanigans that filled that last year of school, that was what gave me whiplash- in a good way. I loved this book. I kept remembering the same thoughts and worries as my brother faced the draft. Read More »

    by Pepper on November 17, 2013

  • A Chick Book in Disguise!

    WHIPLASH is at its heart, a young man's journey from college-frathouse-boobs-&-beer to the harsh truths and tough choices of adulthood. That it takes place in 1969-70 around the night the Vietnam War draft numbers were announced, makes this a different kind of coming of age story. With humor, clarity and insight, O'Neill weaves together the public upheaval of the time with the emotional cataclysms of becoming an adult. When Danny discovers his girlfriend is with someone else, our hearts break with his. And all along the way, the laugh out loud moments pull us forward.

    by Renata Simone (Marblehead, MA) on October 14, 2013

  • Wildly entertaining read!

    This book took me right back to where I was when the lottery numbers were called. It's a poignant and sometimes raucous memoir of Dartmouth students (at a time when the very first woman was admitted to the school!) whose lives were changed immeasurably by the country's need to institute a forced lottery. A great read that you won't want to put down!

    by Good reader (Burbank, CA USA) on October 6, 2013

  • A Chick Book in Disguise!

    WHIPLASH is at its heart, a young man's journey from college-frathouse-boobs-&-beer to the harsh truths and tough choices of adulthood. That it takes place in 1969-70 around the night the Vietnam War draft numbers were announced, makes this a different kind of coming of age story. With humor, clarity and insight, O'Neill weaves together the public upheaval of the time with the emotional cataclysms of becoming an adult. When Danny discovers his girlfriend is with someone else, our hearts break with his. And all along the way, the laugh out loud moments pull us forward.

    by Renata Simone (Marblehead, MA) on October 14, 2013

  • When War Spoiled the Fun

    Whiplash grabbed my 65-year old butt, hauled it back to Dartmouth in the late 1960's and held me captive until I finished the last page. The scent of fraternity basement air freshener- a potent mix of stale beer, cigarettes and vomit- wafted from every page. I was reminded that beer was the beverage of choice every hour of every day of the week, at any and all occasions, including in my case moments before entering the starting gate at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival slalom race. Read More »

    by Bad1970 on November 14, 2013

  • A Chick Book in Disguise!

    WHIPLASH is at its heart, a young man's journey from college-frathouse-boobs-&-beer to the harsh truths and tough choices of adulthood. That it takes place in 1969-70 around the night the Vietnam War draft numbers were announced, makes this a different kind of coming of age story. With humor, clarity and insight, O'Neill weaves together the public upheaval of the time with the emotional cataclysms of becoming an adult. When Danny discovers his girlfriend is with someone else, our hearts break with his. And all along the way, the laugh out loud moments pull us forward.

    by Renata Simone (Marblehead, MA) on October 14, 2013

  • When War Spoiled the Fun

    Whiplash grabbed my 65-year old butt, hauled it back to Dartmouth in the late 1960's and held me captive until I finished the last page. The scent of fraternity basement air freshener- a potent mix of stale beer, cigarettes and vomit- wafted from every page. I was reminded that beer was the beverage of choice every hour of every day of the week, at any and all occasions, including in my case moments before entering the starting gate at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival slalom race. Read More »

    by Bad1970 on November 14, 2013

  • Shadow of a War

    In this moving and thoughtful book, Denis O'Neill shines a light on a fraught, but largely unexamined moment in recent American history: When the Selective Service System finally came to grips with the unfairness of the draft that was sending mostly the poor, the uneducated, the unlucky to fight and die in Vietnam. The solution was the lottery, which, in theory, put all candidates on an equal footing. Of course, that wasn't the way it worked out. O'Neill tells his story through the largely true experience of a group of privileged young men at Dartmouth College... Read More »

    by BleacherSeat445 on October 20, 2013

  • A Chick Book in Disguise!

    WHIPLASH is at its heart, a young man's journey from college-frathouse-boobs-&-beer to the harsh truths and tough choices of adulthood. That it takes place in 1969-70 around the night the Vietnam War draft numbers were announced, makes this a different kind of coming of age story. With humor, clarity and insight, O'Neill weaves together the public upheaval of the time with the emotional cataclysms of becoming an adult. When Danny discovers his girlfriend is with someone else, our hearts break with his. And all along the way, the laugh out loud moments pull us forward.

    by Renata Simone (Marblehead, MA) on October 14, 2013

  • An exhilarating look at a perilous time

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... circa 1969. A year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the Chicago riots, and the election of Richard Nixon; a year before the Kent State killings and the rapid escalation of the Vietnam protests, 1969 was the first year of the Selective Service lottery, created to determine who would be drafted into the Vietnam War, and young men across the country suddenly found their lives at a tipping point... Read More »

    by tc243 on November 11, 2013

  • When War Spoiled the Fun

    Whiplash grabbed my 65-year old butt, hauled it back to Dartmouth in the late 1960's and held me captive until I finished the last page. The scent of fraternity basement air freshener- a potent mix of stale beer, cigarettes and vomit- wafted from every page. I was reminded that beer was the beverage of choice every hour of every day of the week, at any and all occasions, including in my case moments before entering the starting gate at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival slalom race. Read More »

    by Bad1970 on November 14, 2013

  • When War Spoiled the Fun

    Whiplash grabbed my 65-year old butt, hauled it back to Dartmouth in the late 1960's and held me captive until I finished the last page. The scent of fraternity basement air freshener- a potent mix of stale beer, cigarettes and vomit- wafted from every page. I was reminded that beer was the beverage of choice every hour of every day of the week, at any and all occasions, including in my case moments before entering the starting gate at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival slalom race. Read More »

    by Bad1970 on November 14, 2013

Where to Buy the Book

You can purchase the book through the online venues below

COMING SOON: WHIPLASH will also be available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PAPERBACK VERSION »