Acid Dreams

  • by Martin A. Lee, Bruce Shlain
  • Narrated by Oliver Wyman
  • 14 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Few events have had a more profound impact on the social and cultural upheavals of the Sixties than the psychedelic revolution spawned by the spread of LSD. This audiobook for the first time tells the full and astounding story - part of it hidden till now in secret Government files - of the role the mind-altering drug played in our recent turbulent history and the continuing influence it has on our time. And what a story it is, beginning with LSD’s discovery in 1943 as the most potent drug known to science until it spilled into public view some 20 years later to set the stage for one of the great ideological wars of the decade. In the intervening years the CIA had launched a massive covert research program in the hope that LSD would serve as an espionage weapon, psychiatric pioneers came to believe that acid would shed light on the perplexing problems of mental illness, and a new generation of writers and artists had given birth to the LSD sub-culture. Acid Dreams is a complete social history of the psychedelic counter-culture that burst into full view in the Sixties. With new information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the authors reveal how the CIA became obsessed with LSD during the Cold War, fearing the Soviets had designs on it as well. What follows is one of the more bizarre episodes in the covert history of U.S. intelligence as the search for a "truth drug” began to resemble a James Bond scenario in which agents spied on drug-addicted prostitutes through two-way mirrors and countless unwitting citizens received acid with sometimes tragic results.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very interesting

This is an interesting book and the revelations about the origins of LSD and the connection between the drug and the CIA, even down to its manufacture, were fascinating. In the words of the Rolling Stones, 'it just goes to show things are not what they seem'. The book focussed on the early years of Acid which is fair enough as this was its most flamboyant and culture changing time and it was very interesting to hear about the development of the links and tensions between acid users and the Left political movement. I thought the book lost its way in the last quarter with its focus on a man who was both an Acid manufacturer and possibly (?) also on the payroll of the CIA and and I would like to have heard what those early psychedelic Acid users did next. However this was written in the early 1980s so is limited by its time but the writer was able to look at how the use of LSD later did not have spiritual connotations and was used as just another fun drug. I would like to have heard more of a discussion of this phenomenon but this may be be beyond the scope of this book which as its title says, did focus on the CIA.

The (American) reader did his best with English accents but as usual they were woeful when attempting Liverpudlian, however the book was well read apart from this.

I would recommend this if you want to know some of what was going on behind the 'flower power' of the late 60s but don't expect any great social analysis.
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- Maddy

A trip down memory lane!

Worth a listen, if only to laugh at what the old hippies got up to in the 60s!

In fairness the reason I have only given it 4 stars is that it does go on a bit too much about that. Yes it is funny in parts but, at the end of the day, they were off their faces. I would have preferred a little more about non-recreational use, if only to give a bit more balance.
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- JohnWK

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-05-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios