Title: The Harvard Psychedelic Club
Author: Don Lattin
Page Count/Review Word Count: 256
Don’t let this book’s appearance fool you. At first glance, it looks more like a textbook than the stunning piece of investigative non-fiction that it is, but it’s eminently readable and a lot of fun to boot.
This book tells the story of four influential people – Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil – and promises to show you how they “killed the fifties and ushered in a new age for America”. It delivers on that promise, and it’s interesting to see how the formation of the Harvard Psychedelic Club rocked the establishment.
Of the four of them, Leary is the most well-known for psychedelia. He’s one of the primary people that helped to popularise the use of LSD in the 1960s, but the others all had their roles to play too. It’s interesting to see how their lives converged and then separated again, and while the majority of the action takes place in the 50s and 60s, it still takes you pretty much right up to the present date.
Because of that, it takes you on a journey through time that allows you to see how the actions of these four fascinating men changed the world – not just for the sixties but for good. And there’s no pretension – Lattin covers it impartially but passionately, and that’s just fine by me. Overall then, it’s the perfect read for people with varied interests.