Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream Paperback – Sep 1 1998
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Library Journal
Stevens has written a gripping account of the use and abuse of mind-altering drugs in recent decades. He explains the fascination of mescaline and psilocybin for psychologists interested in behaviorial change. He documents the insidious role of the CIA in testing mind-control drugs. He traces the convoluted path of Timothy Leary from his position as research psychologist at Harvard to his role as guru advocating the use of LSD to achieve spiritual utopia. He descibes the outwardly placid social climate of the 1950s, and vividly contrasts the dramatic upheavals of the 60s, sketching pulsing portraits of Allen Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, and Jack Kerouac. Packed with facts, this is social history at its most compelling. Carol R. Glatt, New Jersey Bioethics Commission, Trenton
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
For Aldous Huxley it was the next step in human evolution; for the CIA it was a potential tool for mind control; for Timothy Leary it was the liberator of humankind (a belief that led to his being branded "the most dangerous man in America"); for Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters it fueled the notorious Acid Tests; and it was the improbable common denominator that united such disparate figures as Allen Ginsberg, Cary Grant, G. Gordon Liddy, and Charles Manson.
In this brilliant, riveting, and exhaustively researched book, Jay Stevens relates the history of that "curious molecule," LSD. He unearths a story of Pynchonesque complexity, tells it with novelistic flair, and irrefutably demonstrates LSD's pivotal role in the cultural upheavals that shook America in the 1960s and changed the country forever.
"Fascinating . . . The most compelling account yet of how these hallucinogenic, or psychedelic, drugs became an explosive force in postwar American history."-Newsweek
"Jay Stevens proves himself a superb social historian with a ripping good story to tell. He tells it brilliantly."-Commonweal
"Tirelessly researched and discursive enough to provide a quite enthralling read. A prize-worthy social and cultural history."-The Washington Times Magazine
"In this brilliant, engaging work, Stevens explores the hallucinogenic heart of that weird shiver in American history that was the 60s . . . exemplary history, compelling and committed."-Kirkus Reviews
In addition to Storming Heaven, Jay Stevens co-wrote Drumming at the Edge of Magic with Mickey Hart.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Had you asked your average hippie about beginnings, you would have discovered there were as many as there were hippies-everyone had a favorite chronology. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
When I heard about this book I picked it up ... ASAP and was not disappointed. I will not go into lengthy discussions of this book like other reviewers (or even spell all the words correctly). While reading, Jay Stevens was placing me "there", "right there" where is was all happening from Aldous Huxley, to Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey.
The story unfolds "expertly" and the characters involved are so well described, it feels like I've met them personally.
While much of the information is public knowledge, there are many fascinating, generally unknown tidbits: from the CIA's LSD involvement to insights on Leary & Kesey.
Anyone who holds any interest in this subject will not be disappointed with this book. From someone who grew up on The Brady Bunch, The Monkees & Happy Days....this book is a definite eye opener into a cultural wave I wish I had been riding.... so "Turn On, Tune In & Get This Book".
The west coast scene, in contrast, was less intellectual and more of a free-for-all. Jay Stevens describes the exploits of Ken Kesey, and the riders of his magic bus. Of course any discussion of Ken Kesey will inevitably lead to a discussion of the Grateful Dead, and the handiwork of their "chemist" mr. Owlsley. Stevens also covers the involvement of the Hell's Angels in this west coast movement. All of this makes for very entertaining, albeit light, reading.
This book is a diamond in the rough for those who wish to take that same exploratory approach in reading about LSD and the history of this potent and controversial drug. It's not geared for people who are vehemently pro/anti LSD. Preconceived notions should be checked at the door before embarking on this adventure.
Stevens looks at LSD from its very beginnings, where characters such as Hoffman, Osmond, and Huxley help pave the way for much of what comes later in the book. As the narrative moves on, familiar names such as Ginsberg, Leary, Burroughs, Kerouac, Alpert, Metzner, Kesey, Cassady, Weil, Watts, and Wolfe, among others, enter and exit the stage like bit actors in this great showcase. If you've ever been enamored with the doings of any of those names, this book weaves a pattern from threads of various legacies in one fascinating tapestry.
As a caveat to the above paragraph, none of those characters is covered in much detail, with the exception of Timothy Leary. This is more a result of Leary's intense involvement with the scene than Stevens' focusing on one extraordinary character. Some of those people (Burroughs, for instance) make very brief but interesting appearances.
In addition to those mentioned, many unknown but intriguing characters fill the pages of this book. More than likely, every one of them will lead you to read on, until another name segues into the narrative.Read more ›
Stevens is pretty good at keeping central issues front and center as events unfold: eg, how the psychological models evolved over time, and the socio-political question of whether the power of this amazing molecule was for the masses or just for the few -- both of which became more or less moot as events over-ran things.
I liked "Acid Dreams" a microgram or two more than this book, probably because it emphasizes cultural rather than personal history more, but still had a difficult time putting "Storming Heaven" down for very long. It's extremely information-rich and well-written -- it's rather dispassionately objective while still being interesting. It would probably only disappoint those looking for simple answers.
Most recent customer reviews
It seems to me, as others have said, that the discovery of LSD ranks up there with the top scientific discoveries of the century. Read morePublished on March 2 2001 by nonamespecified
Let's get a couple of things straight: No, I am not the author. No, I'm not related to the author. Read morePublished on Oct. 13 2000 by Jay Stevens
I loved this book. It had me gripped to it from start to finish. It facinated, humoured and impired me. Read morePublished on July 28 2000 by Richard J Murphy
if they taught this kind of history in school, I don't think i would have ever been bored enough to draw stupid comics of stick figures running about the pages of my notes and... Read morePublished on March 20 2000 by Tim Shortnacy
This book is a fair account of the affects and consequenses of mature ingestion of the chemical Lysergic acid---please read thids book it is an eye opener for the skeptic--get it... Read morePublished on March 17 2000
Storming Heaven chronicles the advent of LSD (as well as many other halucinagens) from its early days as a pharmaceutical curio to indispensable ingredient of sixties social... Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2000
This is very likely the best book I have ever read. It gave me a taste for any non-fiction which is written in "story" form. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2000 by Ian Hough
Segue to the end: money wins. Personal greed (or some variant of Maslow's hierarchy) triumphs over freedom of the mind. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 1999
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Education & Reference > Dictionaries & Thesauruses > Science
- Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Recovery > Drug Dependency
- Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Reference
- Books > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century
- Books > History > United States > 20th Century
- Books > Humour & Entertainment > Pop Culture
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Reference
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology > Culture