Regular price: $24.95
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $24.95
I really enjoyed this book - so much so that I want listen to it again, and soon. Having said that, it didn't deliver what I expected, especially given that I understand it's primarily regarded as a textbook. I thought it would focus on the development and dissemination of LSD, and it certainly started that way, but somewhere after the first third of the book, it became more and more an account of some key events of the late 60s and early 70s and a (selective) look at some of the personalities of that time. (I know it describes itself as a 'social history', but I still expected there to be a greater focus on the drug itself.) I liked the narrative turn, but unfortunately it felt pretty unstructured from this point: another reviewer described it as 'kaleidoscopic' - it certainly could be dis-orienting at times, as the authors focussed on one social movement or one personality, then circled back (in time) to follow another, rather than showing how these events and individuals interacted or influenced one another. I also hoped for more of a discussion about the development of the drug itself as manufacturing expanded, and the experience of users: it is clear that there is a wealth of evidence from the (then-legal) use of the drug in therapy, in government and defence contexts, and in personal journals, but the authors barely touch on this area.
Also, was it my imagination, or did the narrator change suddenly, towards the end (and then the original narrator returned)?! The narrator/s were good. The treatment of footnotes was a little odd: the footnotes seemed to be read at exactly the point they appeared in the original text, resulting in some strange diversions in already complex narratives! It would have been better to have treated them as endnotes, or at least to finish the sentence to which they related before reading the footnote in!
These negatives aside, if you are prepared to approach this book as more of a historical (though not linear) narrative of the 1960s and early 70s, albeit with a selective focus, constructed around the thread of LSD - rather than a concentrated consideration of the drug itself - then I am sure you will find plenty to keep your interest.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
You may THINK you know all about the CIA and its LSD experiments on soldiers and civilians— but you don’t know the half of it.
Thought the hippies came up with the phrase “trip?” No— it was the military. The CIA was OBSESSED in the Cold War idea of a truth serum, convinced the Soviets had their own, but their experiments went way further. Their perversion will astound you: force-fed acid trips, doses there was no way to come back from, secrets and lies.
"Acid Dreams" is a thorough and serious book, but it’s full of juicy details and the kind of improbable stories that turn history into entertainment.
There have been other books about LSD after this, but nothing has surpassed this gem. It should have been on audio long ago. Tune in and turn on!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
This is an interesting book and the revelations about the origins of LSD and the connection between the drug and the CIA, even down to its manufacture, were fascinating. In the words of the Rolling Stones, 'it just goes to show things are not what they seem'. The book focussed on the early years of Acid which is fair enough as this was its most flamboyant and culture changing time and it was very interesting to hear about the development of the links and tensions between acid users and the Left political movement. I thought the book lost its way in the last quarter with its focus on a man who was both an Acid manufacturer and possibly (?) also on the payroll of the CIA and and I would like to have heard what those early psychedelic Acid users did next. However this was written in the early 1980s so is limited by its time but the writer was able to look at how the use of LSD later did not have spiritual connotations and was used as just another fun drug. I would like to have heard more of a discussion of this phenomenon but this may be be beyond the scope of this book which as its title says, did focus on the CIA.
The (American) reader did his best with English accents but as usual they were woeful when attempting Liverpudlian, however the book was well read apart from this.
I would recommend this if you want to know some of what was going on behind the 'flower power' of the late 60s but don't expect any great social analysis.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Worth a listen, if only to laugh at what the old hippies got up to in the 60s!
In fairness the reason I have only given it 4 stars is that it does go on a bit too much about that. Yes it is funny in parts but, at the end of the day, they were off their faces. I would have preferred a little more about non-recreational use, if only to give a bit more balance.