In 1960 Timothy Leary was not yet famousor infamousand Allen Ginsberg was both. Leary, eager to expand his psychedelic experiments at Harvard to include accomplished artists and writers, knew that Ginsberg held the key to bohemia’s elite. America’s most conspicuous beatnik” was recruited as Ambassador of Psilocybin under the auspices of an Ivy League professor, and together they launched the psychedelic revolution and turned on the hippie generation. A who’s who of artists, pop culture, and political figures people this story of the life, times, and friendship of two of the most famous, charismatic, and controversial members of America’s counterculture.
Peter Conners is the author of Growing Up Dead, The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead.
In 1960, Allen Ginsberg, high on William Blake and the resounding success of his epic poem, Howl, met Timothy Leary, the new Harvard psychologist eager to convince the world that getting high on psychedelic drugs could soothe the savage beast in the human heart. Conners (Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead) splendidly brings these two mavericks back to life as he chronicles that first meeting at Leary's house and traces their growing bond as they built the bridges between the "holy trinity" (Albert Hofmann, the father of psychedelics; Aldous Huxley; and William Blake) of visionary consciousness expansion and the 1960s psychedelic movement. Along the way, we glimpse all the familiar faces of the 1960s psychedelic era-Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, who conducted their own acid tests; Jack Kerouac; William Burroughs; and Neal Cassady, among others. As Conners keenly observes, Ginsberg gave Leary entree to the influential world of artistic America, and Leary gave Ginsberg an opportunity to expose America to powerful hallucinatory visions. Conners records Ginsberg and Leary's long, strange trip, from their earliest experiments with psilocybin to their deaths in the late 1990s. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.