Friday, January 15, 2010 - Don Lattin: The Harvard Psychedelic Club

Very interesting - this sounds like an interesting book (The Harvard Psychedelic Club) about an interesting period of our cultural history - all four of the main characters have had a huge impact on our culture.

The 1950s -- a decade defined by conformity, consumerism, and conservatism -- were coming to a close, and a new era of social, spiritual, sexual, and psychological revolution was beginning. By the end of the century, Americans would have a new outlook on religion and new ways of practicing medicine, and the Mind/Body/Spirit movement would make things like yoga, organic produce, and alternative medicine commonplace.

This is the story of how it all began. Three brilliant scholars and one ambitious undergrad -- widely known today as leaders in the fields of spirituality (Ram Dass), world religions (Huston Smith), hallucinogenics (Timothy Leary), and holistic medicine (Andrew Weil) -- came together in the winter of 1960-61 around the Harvard Psilocybin Project, an infamous series of experiments with psychedelic drugs. Seeking spiritual enlightenment, their research brought them together before bitterness and betrayal tore them apart, and as they forged their own paths and changed their own lives, they would also transform the culture of America.

The Harvard Psychedelic Club takes readers into the heart of the 1960s and back into this era of "peace, love, and joy." With cameos by some of the best known and most beloved cultural figures of the era -- including John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Joan Baez, Keith Richards, and Aldous Huxley -- this book presents a comprehensive and compelling picture of a nation undergoing great and lasting change, and the four men who took us there.

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