Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield
The Day-Glo finery of the 1960’s, as enumerated by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), included “jesuschrist strung-out hair, Indian beads, Indian headbands, donkey beads, temple bells, amulets, mandalas, god’s-eyes, fluorescent vests, unicorn horns, Errol Flynn dueling shirts.” However grimy they may have been, these costumes, as Wolfe well knew, spoke of transcendent longings. And when it came to 60’s-style transcendence, no one talked a better game than Timothy Leary. Founding father of the League of Spiritual Discovery, spearhead of guerrilla raids on the far reaches of consciousness, purveyor to youth of mind-altering pharmaceuticals, Leary promised to fit civilization with a mind far more subtle, rich, capacious, and cosmically attuned than any model previously available.
In Timothy Leary: A Biography, Robert Greenfield—a novelist, a former associate editor of Rolling Stone, and the author of non-fiction books on the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and religious gurus—brings to bear a formidable knowledge of popular culture and a wide-ranging fascination with the topics of holiness and unholiness. The result is surprising, to say the least.
About the Author
Algis Valiunas writes on culture and politics for COMMENTARY and other magazines. His "Goethe’s Magnificent Self" appeared in January.