To a generation in full revolt against any form of authority, "Tune in, turn on, drop out" became a mantra, and its popularizer, Dr. Timothy Leary, a guru. A charismatic and brilliant psychologist, Leary first became intrigued, and then obsessed, by the effects of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s while teaching at Harvard, where he not only encouraged but instituted their experimental use among students and faculty. What began as research into human consciousness turned into a mission to alter consciousness itself. Leary transformed himself from a serious social scientist into a counterculture shaman, embodying the idealism and hedonism of an age of revolutionary change. Timothy Leary is the first major biography of one of the most controversial figures in postwar America.More
"Hugely entertaining....[A] genuine page turner, an epic tragedy and a cosmic farce." (L.A. Weekly)
"A veritable who's who of the age of Aquarius and a real page-turner....illuminates the paradoxes of the psychedelic age." (Booklist)
"Riveting....unfolds like the great novel Sinclair Lewis might have written had he lived to the age of 120." (New York Times Book Review)
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The author gets in the way
People who hate Tim Leary would like this book. Through the book, the author's animosity toward and prejudice against Leary become evident. By the end it becomes clear that the author's personal encounters with Leary left the author feeling small and insignificant. This book sometimes feels like the author's attempt to get back at Leary. It was unfortunate for me as I began the book not knowing much about Leary and I just wanted to learn about his life as opposed to be caught in what sometimes reads like a self-righteous rant of an insecure and inferior mind.
This was my first exposure to Leary. He had a fascinating and unlikely life that was intriguing to glimpse into.
It is worthwhile learning about Leary, but not from Robert Greenfield.
- Patrick King