Timothy Leary: A Biography

By Robert Greenfield
Read by Patrick Lawlor

25.80 Hours 01/01/2006 unabridged
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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. In the handsome, charismatic Leary, the youth of the 1960s found someone who promised it all: self-liberation, hedonistic satisfaction, and spiritual fulfillment. While in Mexico in 1960, Leary, then a lecturer and brilliant psychologist at Harvard, tried magic mushrooms for the first time. He became first intrigued and then obsessed by the effects of the psychedelic drugs. Under the aegis of Aldous Huxley, Leary launched the Harvard Psychadelic Project and transformed himself into a psychadelic messiah. What began as research into human consciousness turned into a mission to alter consciousness itself. For the next three decades, Leary’s life was a roller-coaster ride of glamour and scandal, drug-induced epiphanies, and endless legal problems. After he died in Los Angeles in 1996, his ashes were shot into outer space—his last trip. In this first major biography of one of the most controversial figures in postwar America, Robert Greenfield immerses the reader in the life and times of a compelling but troubled icon. The supporting cast of characters in this fascinating book reads like a who’s who of popular culture in twentieth-century America. At the center of the maelstrom he created everywhere he went is Leary himself: a gifted but self-mythologizing addict of fame and notoriety who seized his moment in the spotlight and refused to let it go.

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Summary

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. In the handsome, charismatic Leary, the youth of the 1960s found someone who promised it all: self-liberation, hedonistic satisfaction, and spiritual fulfillment.

While in Mexico in 1960, Leary, then a lecturer and brilliant psychologist at Harvard, tried magic mushrooms for the first time. He became first intrigued and then obsessed by the effects of the psychedelic drugs. Under the aegis of Aldous Huxley, Leary launched the Harvard Psychadelic Project and transformed himself into a psychadelic messiah. What began as research into human consciousness turned into a mission to alter consciousness itself.

For the next three decades, Leary’s life was a roller-coaster ride of glamour and scandal, drug-induced epiphanies, and endless legal problems. After he died in Los Angeles in 1996, his ashes were shot into outer space—his last trip.

In this first major biography of one of the most controversial figures in postwar America, Robert Greenfield immerses the reader in the life and times of a compelling but troubled icon. The supporting cast of characters in this fascinating book reads like a who’s who of popular culture in twentieth-century America. At the center of the maelstrom he created everywhere he went is Leary himself: a gifted but self-mythologizing addict of fame and notoriety who seized his moment in the spotlight and refused to let it go.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Nearly every page is riveting in Timothy Leary, which unfolds like the great novel Sinclair Lewis might have written had he lived to the age of 120…[Greenfield] does a particularly good job of being at once meticulous and brisk.” New York Times Book Review
“Leary’s wild ride is the subject of a hugely entertaining new biography by Robert Greenfield, the first man to take on the myth…[A] genuine page turner, an epic tragedy and a cosmic farce.” LA Weekly
“A veritable who’s who of the age of Aquarius and a real page-turner, Greenfield’s cornerstone portrait of the acidhead who would be king brilliantly illuminates the paradoxes of the psychedelic age.” Booklist  

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Robert Greenfield

Robert Greenfield is the author of a biography of Jerry Garcia and a book about rock impresario Bill Graham, which won a Ralph J. Gleason Award and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Excellence. He lives in California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 25.80
Audience: Adult
Language: English