Denis R. O'Neill

Author, Screenwriter & Producer

Whiplash Cover Art

Whiplash Book Cover Art

Whiplash: Front Cover Art – by Adil Dara

About the Book Cover

When I began remembering… and writing down stories from the harrowing late-1960’s, it became ever clearer that at Dartmouth – and at other colleges and universities across the country – we were caught between opposing forces unique to our time. Beer represented the care-free, self-indulgent past, war (after the draft lottery), the darker future. The book’s title – WHIPLASH – emerged from these conflicting energy fields.

Dartmouth had inspired the movie ANIMAL HOUSE (co-written by Chris Miller, Dartmouth ’64). Being the all-male bastion it was back then (as well as being located some distance from civilization), a culture of beer-fueled road trips was a natural bi-product of those conditions. Anxiety about the Vietnam War trickled into Hanover until the death of a recent graduate (who happened to be an all-Ivy athlete and a beloved character) brought home the reality of the war… like a hand grenade rolled onto the campus.

I mentioned the beer keg and hand grenade imagery to designer Adil Dara. I told him they seemed to me to be quintessential symbols of that tumultuous time… as well as ingredients of a shared shape. Like any gifted artist, he embraced the elements and forged them into an image that was all his own.