||In this warts-and-all biography of the famed guru of LSD and other psychedelics, Robert Greenfield succeeds in freeing Tim Leary from the 1960s, and tells the story of a very full life from the 1920s through his death in 1996, identifying several themes and showing how key experiences led to his fame and his ultimate demise. Greenfield explores Leary's troubled family life, the difficulties as a cadet at West Point that led to his dismissal, and his brief career as a researcher at Harvard University, from which he was also dismissed in the early 1960s. Greenfield recounts how this came about from his experiences with mind-altering substances--mushrooms, then psilocybin, then LSD--all which not only expanded his mind but became the central mission of his life. Greenfield recounts how Leary's encounters with celebrities and his own personality as showman and perhaps con artist fed his fame in the 60s, but also led to arrest, imprisonment, escape, flight, and return--until he eventually became an informer in order to save himself. This detailed and well-researched life stays close to the many events of Leary's life, without providing the context that is available in many other places.
||To a generation in full revolt against any form of authority, "Tune in, turn on, drop out" became a mantra, and its popularizer, Dr. Timothy Leary, a guru. A charismatic and brilliant psychologist, Leary became first intrigued and then obsessed by the effects of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s while teaching at Harvard, where he not only encouraged but instituted their experimental use among students and faculty. What began as research into human consciousness turned into a mission to alter consciousness itself. Leary transformed himself from serious social scientist into counterculture shaman, embodying the idealism and the hedonism of an age of revolutionary change. Timothy Leary is the first major biography of one of the most controversial figures in postwar America.