read: 10 December 2002
It’s nice to see people write about drugs as if they were any other topic. This is an interesting and well-researched history of LSD and other psychedelics, from their discovery, manufacture and eventual outlawing. This book follows some of the major players of the LSD movement -- Leary, Owsley, Huxley -- through their experimentation and enchantment or disenchantment with the drug. Reading histories of drugs before they became illegal is always particularly interesting since all sorts of people, from Hollywood stars to Ivy League faculty were interested in LSD use as a sort of hip interesting thing to do. For a long time LSD therapy was thought by some to be the most effective form of psychological treatment. Jay Stevens does not seem like an insider to all the goings-on, more like an astute researcher with a willingness to explore the minutiae of a movement and come up with some form of coherent narrative. If you’re looking for a Tom Wolfesque writing style or an in-depth exploration into the CIA’s MK-ULTRA project, you will be out of luck, but if drug culture history fascinates you, this book is filled with enough trivia to keep you going for weeks.
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