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I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary Paperback – 1 May 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (1 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905548257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905548255
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Higgs is an author and BAFTA-nominated TV producer. He has produced a number of animated children's series, most recently The Beeps and Castle Farm. John has produced video games, created the Radio 4 quiz show X Marks The Spot, and written for numerous publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Mojo. His website is www.johnhiggs.com


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. J. Payne on 2 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this book in the space of two evenings, a gripping story of Leary's interesting and fairly unique life. the book covers his role of spokesperson of the late 60's Acid generation and the influence he had on many bands, poets and well known figures of the era. Its well written and an easy read and is a bargain compared to many other Kindle books. If you're interested in his theories or just want to read about a dramatic part of recent history than I really suggest you download this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Strange on 29 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
If you want a book that flows whilst scoring all of the juicy bits in Timothy Leary's life this is the one to get. Each chapter is about ten pages long and is packed with some very entertaining information as well as plausible speculation. I felt that the author had really connected with the spirit of Leary and I found myself drawn into this 1960s counter-cultural/hippy world in which Timothy Leary helped create and construct through giving his philosophical viewpoints and recommending that the youth take LSD to reset their conditioned minds.

The author is not biased either; he balances out his information and pointing out where Timothy Leary went wrong and writing about some of the less heroic acts he did like become a snitch for FBI in order to get out of prison (however, considering Tim's situation it is still understandable why he did this and besides he could've given away much more information than he let on, but instead cleverly led the Feds on). It also has a good forward by Winona Ryder who happens to be his God daughter... It's totally worth getting this book; from stories like his escape from prison with aid from the Weather Underground to his life in Africa and then Europe with his girlfriend Joanne.

Brilliant! I really did enjoy it but only give it four stars because I wanted it to be a bit long and bit more in-depth with more detail but still a great read - it left me wanting to know more about Leary but this is definately a great starter as Higgs totally connects with the spirit of Leary and spirit of the times.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Orbific on 12 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been reading a lot of books about the 60's counter-culture recently, and John Higgs' book on Timothy Leary has been one of the most enjoyable. Rather than being a straightforward birth-to-death biography, the book tells Leary's life as a story, starting with his prison escape. Many of Leary's views can sound a little flaky, but Higgs does a great job of explaining them. He also doesn't let Leary off the hook for his dodgier behaviour, such as his decision to become an informer for the FBI.

The book tells some great anecdotes, and includes appearances from many of the luminaries of the sixties scene. I often despair of biographies where the writer aims for exhaustive details at the expense of being a good read. Higgs does a good job of drawing out the most interesting parts of Leary's life while giving appropriate background information where needed. I'd not read a great deal about Leary before this and felt John Higgs did a great job. The book has given me some good ideas for further reading in the future.

This is a well-structured, interesting book, which also has one of the best titles I've seen in ages. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Pulsar on 16 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A first class book written in a discursive style illustrating well the people who influenced Leary and those who Leary in turn influenced. Leary's impact upon the world has been far greater than his distractors like to admit, and many of his ideas, at the time dismissed as fantasy have since been found to have substance. In short, Leary was a visionary scientist prepared to push the boundaries of experimentation further than anyone else. Leary was and still is an inspiration to many. He may be dead but he still lives; after reading Higgs' book the reader will have no doubt of that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graham Ellis on 7 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really, really enjoyed the KLF book by Mr Higgs (which seems to have disappeared from Amazon - maybe being pumped for greater things?) and thought this would be something worth reading but somehow lesser. But no, I enjoyed this even more. I've had a dubious past and understand how Mr Leary contributed to this in a big way, but I never knew what a fascinating tale his life makes. Mr Higgs brings it alive from multiple angles. I now want to find some LSD! A great read whether you know the guy or not, and whether your past has been 'clean' or turned on. Thanks Mr Higgs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douggie on 10 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great story of one man's crucial role in the rise of LSD and the flower power culture; of his foresight and his naiveté; of the paranoia of the US authorities and Leary's innocent pleasure in goading them; of the fascination of the great and the good of the music world in Leary himself; and of his ultimate falling from favour as 'tripping' lost its cool and riskier substances came to market.

I missed this era by only 5 or so years (and 3000 miles), and this was a real nostalgia trip - thoroughly enjoyable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had the misconception that Tim Leary was a druggy dropout. and was amazed by this account of his life.He was a Harvard professor who after trying LSD was impressed with its ability to transform our ways of seeing, and felt that its use could help humans to truly reach their full potential. In the early years he was able to officially conduct experiments with LSD, as were the American military and the CIA. With the rise of the hippy drug culture, the American government began their war on drugs, and Leary became public enemy number one, with the government seeking to lock him up and throw away the key.

The book is a very honest account ; Leary was certainly no saint, and his treatment of his women and children was sometimes a long way from perfect, and he could be foolish and mercenary. His work on the use of LSD was an eye-opener, not advocating it as a way to oblivion but as a whole new way of seeing. The author ends by saying how much Leary's work influenced the development of personal computers and the internet, making them the intuitive and fun things they are today rather than a boring tool for business. Well worth a read whatever your views on the use of drugs.
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