The following review first appeared in The Final Incident, the Deek Magazine anthology edited by Joseph L. Flatley, Matt Stroud, and Jesse Hicks.
Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 704 pages
I Have America Surrounded: A Biography of Timothy Leary by John Higgs
Barricade Books; 320 pages
The first exhaustive look at Leary, Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield, begins on a poignant note, where the young Leary hides on the roof to escape from his drunken father; and it ends on a note of righteous indignation. In between those two poles lay a phone book’s worth of vitriol. Greenfield obviously has some kind of searing hatred for Timothy Leary, which he may be too much of a gentleman to mention, but which nonetheless bleeds onto every page.
One could read the entire Greenfield book and think that Leary never had an original idea in his life, let alone author over thirty books. The Annotated Bibliography of Timothy Leary itself weighs in at over three hundred pages! True, some of Leary’s work can be difficult — and not in the good way; but even that stuff will often teach you something if you let it. (more…)