Mud City Press


A Novel by Dan Armstrong

Princeton University underwent considerable change between the spring of 1968 and the summer of 1972. The number of Black undergraduates quadrupled to nearly 400 and admissions were opened to women, whose numbers would reach 500 by the fall of 1971. But the changes were more than increased diversity. The issues of anti-war politics, the environment, sexual freedom, and drug use were the currency of the day and ripped through colleges across the country, Princeton included. On May 4, 1970, the student body voted to shut down the university as a statement against the war in Vietnam. Old school Princeton was no more.


Princeton Charlie's Got the Blues is a historical novel set at Princeton during these turbulent years. The novel follows the lives of five students, three men and two women, through the ups and downs of political protests, the opening of coed dorms, experimentation with drugs, and individual romances. A conservative, largely white university in 1968 would become something entirely different by 1972. The inclusive Princeton of today is a direct result of the changes that occurred during these four years.


Dan Armstrong and Princeton Charlie's Got the Blues are featured on the PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY's website.


What Princeton Alumni are saying about the book:

"From the callow innocence and insecurities of freshman year through the roller coaster ride to graduation, Princeton Charlie’s Got the Blues delivers an utterly gripping story of the pivotal years of the late 60s. I thoroughly relished this trip through the looking glass of memory, reverie, romantic relationships, race, rebellion; of those timeless moments of learning and longing." –Gene Halton, class of 1972

"I loved reading this book!" –Randy Swenson, Class of 1972

"Great read. Takes you on a rollicking roller coasts of a ride through a familiar Princeton coming of age story…with all the expanded consciousness that coming of age entails. Armstrong's narrative brings forward so many warm memories of times at Princeton in the 70s." –Maryann Thompson, class of 1983

Princeton Charlie"s Got the Blues is a bildungsroman crafted by a master of historical fiction. Set between the 1967 "Summer of Love" and the 1973 failed Paris Peace Accord, Armstrong spins intertwined stories of young people navigating, overcoming, and crumbling under the pressure of once-in-history changes to institutions, power dynamics, and societal mores. Though his focus is on Princeton University, his attention to setting the larger historical context universalizes the experience of reading this highly engaging novel. Moreover, the myriad Princeton-specific details will reanimate any grad's memories of their time at Old Nassau. Read it, it is a real treat!" –Charlie Patton, class of 1972

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