A definitive run through not just of LSD but its impact on Amerikana and its shift in consciousness from both spectrums of a revolt, the right and the left. MK ultra and the secret CIA experiments in liquid Cannabis, the synthesis of LSD from ergot by Hoffman, Mescale, the Mushroom by amateur botanists from Eastern Europe. All becomes embroiled within Huxley, the Beats, Anais Nin and the hundreds of hippies who refused to buy into the dream.
Meanwhile the author excavates the various American phenomenons such as the march to the suburbs in the 50's the desire for conformity after being on the receipt of gindng poverty in the 1940's. Then the utter sterility of the burbs with their indentikit lives and the counter reaction.
As McCarthy set to purge the USA of Communists, the LSD counter reaction was being launched by a small intellectual elite who viewed it as a one way trip to Nirvana. Within the text it has some sound harm reduction advice, such as someone to assist with the trip and coax people out of their reverie and fugue if it begins to nose dive. Setting, suggestion, beliefs and support are absolutely crucial to the event.
He pieces together the links between Leary, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Huxley and the various academic adherents who flocked to the LSD seminars at Harvard before it was dispensed to the masses and then demonised. The history of LSD, psilocybin, mescale and peyote all came alive in the book,
It shifts through the sands of history with academic precision in easily digestible prose based on the American experience of lysergia looking at both the pros and cons of the changes in viewing the world.
A thorough journey through the times of the past to reach the present. If you want to understand America in 450 pages then begin here.