Timothy Leary

  • by Robert Greenfield
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawor
  • 25 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The author gets in the way

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

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.


What did you like best about this story?

This was my first exposure to Leary. He had a fascinating and unlikely life that was intriguing to glimpse into.


Any additional comments?

It is worthwhile learning about Leary, but not from Robert Greenfield.

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- Dominik

Hatchet Job

If you dislike, or more to the point, don't understand someone's work, why write their biography? From his final remarks, it's obvious that Greenfield was afraid of Dr. Leary's work. He declined to actually meet the man when he had the opportunity because he was concerned he might be required to take LSD.

To the point, when Mr. Greenfield can make Dr. Leary appear inept, foolish, pompous, in error, self-serving, dishonest, or disingenuous, he slants his text in just that way. Yet in fact the writer did not know the doctor and all the writer's observations are second or third hand.

I was extremely annoyed with this huge work. I wonder who commissioned it? I STRONGLY CAUTION ANYONE WHO HAS READ LEARY'S OWN WORKS AND HAS A GOOD OPINION OF HIM not to bother with this book. You will lean nothing of value you didn't learn from FLASHBACKS, and what you will learn here is gossip, not verifiable and, frankly, not at all important.

What is important is that Timothy Leary discovered the gateway to a cure for psychosis. Using John Lilly's metaphor, Leary helped to develop a program language for the human bio-computer. Unfortunately, his work, as it continues in his native country, is clandestine. For this we can thank people with tiny minds like Mr. Greenfield.

Mr. Lawor's reading was quite respectable. Please let him know, however, that the Neoplatonist, Aleister Crowley's name rhymes with 'holy,' not 'foully.'
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- Patrick King

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-30-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.