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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2016
I liked this book. If you have an interest in 60's American counter culture then this book will appeal. It catalogues the life of Dr T Leary, bringing in other characters of that era and placing them in the context of the time. Its well written and interesting and seems to highlight both Dr Learys positive side and the not so positive side (that many people would choose to gloss over).

Its fairly readable as well, so something you could take away and finish in a few days!
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on 25 April 2017
i bought this, primarily, as i enjoy john higgs' writing, but also with the intention of becoming informed regarding the life of timothy leary, although i had no particular admiration for the man. still don't really, as (to me) the book makes clear what a self-serving glory hunter he was - how dismissive of people he was, and borderline cruel to those closest to him. looks like hunter s. thompson was spot on with his assessment of the man! maybe this was how he had to behave in order to pursue his goals! worthy or not, i don't know how relevant his work and research into mind expanding substances is now, and maybe his legacy is as celebrity academic?
whatever my impression of leary has become, this is exceptionally well written, researched and balanced biography by an author that could write entertainingly about the hardening of faecal matter and make it interesting and valid! contains all we need to know, and set out in a neutral narrative that allows the reader to form opinion and learn. what more? i have thoroughly enjoyed this, 'k.l.f.....' and 'stranger than we can imagine....', now looking forward to a 'trip' down 'watling street' in july!
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on 2 September 2011
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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This book isn't just a bio of Timothy Leary, its an eye opener of psychedelic radicalism, its about the God behind the eyes, the God Tim Leary said was within within you and I and its also got loads of celebrities inside.

The title of this book is borrowed from a thing Timothy Leary's sloganized after prez Nixon called him a danger to the youth of the day. Timothy Leary was the psychedelic piper of the counter culture, who told the youth about this version of God, this was after investing magic mushrooms. Things are never the same after experiencing the sacred mushroom.
Before he tried magic mushrooms, Timothy Leary was a stiff Harvard academic, after trying the mushroom, Leary wore beads and guiding a generation of black and white conformist's out of the 1950's and into the light. For his labours, Timothy Leary got his butt thrown into maximum security. Prison was a bitter pill for one of the most prestigious psychologists working in America at the time. Why did he get thrown into prison? Was it for saying that he learned more from an 8 hour mushroom experience than studying psychology for 20 years (the clip was on You Tube for ages but its been taken down now)?

Dr Leary experienced the God within, the God, incidentally, that they never tell you about in kindergarten. The cardinals of the academy, and their political stooges, recoiled in horror at the suggestion that running rats in a maze was not the way to do psychology, and because of their refusal to experiment, Leary called them flat Earthers. We see these flat Earthers today, in the towers of the academy and in the halls of philosophy.

If an idiot looks into a mirror don't expect a genius to look back. Culture is the mirror. Make of that as you may. Why are today's luminaries of psychology so boring and have nothing to offer the world and why is the world so corrupt? Can it be that, like the cardinals in Galileo's time, who refused to look through Galileo's telescope, psychologists today are refusing to look inside themselves? Timothy Leary thought so and it sure looks that way from here.

This is a radical biography of a love him or hate him character. Leary didn't invent the movement, he only added much needed colour. However, there is a lot of sh't flung at Timothy Leary by envious people. Ok, I suppose he was a terrible father and did date the most gorgeous women on the planet at the time, but hey, no one is perfect!

There are parallels with today's occupy movement and the Lsd movement and the way both movements are being dismissed by the misinformed is striking. If you know the lies about the banking rip off and what is being said about the world recession, then you will understand the propaganda wing we live under. They are the same lies about psychedelics and the 60's. Read this and you will realize how lucky that generation was to have a figure-head like Tim Leary.

We could dig up his dead body, if it wasn't shot out into space!
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on 29 October 2011
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 February 2017
I share one or two of Leary's opinions but having been at university in Reno in 1982 when he and G. Gordon 'Watergate ' Liddy brought their debate gig to town I knew that he had few principles;. I did not attend since listening to cynical opportunists is assuredly NOT my 'bag.'
. You get the flavour of his blithe, irresponsible nature in this crisp and interesting book. I found it occasionally lacking depth but this is not a rigorously analytical study's though you have plenty here with which to make up your mind. Yes it is a rich and varied life and I know more about Leary's rather impressive scholarly credentials. Enough indeed to dislike him, for all that he allowed The Warlocks to provide the soundscapes for the Acid Tests as they became The Grateful Dead, one of the truly great, indeed probably THE psychedelic group. An entertaining book which will prompt a more searching, scholarly account that will doubtless be written. An enjoyable, easy read though I am used to longer chapters! Academic, drug pioneer and proto hippie. Quite a life if one squandered, for this doctor was too much the publicity seeker to achieve anything truly great.
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on 2 July 2017
Maybe it's a deliberate trope, but the repetitions in this book come off like the ramblings of an acid casualty. Also totally lacking in emotional depth - again, much like the subject of the book. After the first gripping chapter, It feels as though this was written by a sweaty undergraduate up against a deadline who's done the research but not formulated any depth of theory. Appreciation of Higgs' KLF book led me here, a much better read with stylistic surprises that aren't accidental. Read that instead if you want good writing - and if you want to learn about Leary, be prepared to be bored by his narcissism and idiocy (Leary's, not the author's).
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on 9 February 2014
i never knew the half of it!
Loaded with context and written with confidence, authority and zeal...it's a massive story.
Frankly, you are better off reading it than reading this. Personally; money well spent.
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on 12 July 2010
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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on 16 May 2014
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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