Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oz Fritz on the new Joanna Harcourt-Smith book

When the new Joanna Harcourt-Smith book on her relationship with Timothy Leary came out, I wondered if it had anything about Robert Anton Wilson in it. Oz Fritz has answered my question with his carefully-written review of the book: 

"Fans of Robert Anton Wilson will note that Leary reread Illuminatus! toward the end of his prison years.  That's the only appearance of Wilson in this tale.  Other books Leary requested get mentioned, as well as how many times he read Gravity's Rainbow."

On Twitter, Leary biographer John Higgs commented: "Presumably that would be pre-publication (Leary was released in Feb 75), so it might well have been the unedited version."

In any event, Oz's review makes it clear that Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary is well-worth reading ("This book profoundly move me") and an effective reply to the sometimes harsh criticism that's been piled on Harcourt-Smith. "Joanna Harcourt-Smith has endured unfair criticism at times that she was riding on Timothy Leary's coattails.  After reading her book, this criticism seems ridiculous, quite the opposite," he writes.

See also Oz's post on the most recent Leary biography; note that Oz has carefully read all of the Leary biographies. He's also read many of Leary's books. Nobody is better qualified to review Joanna's book.

Joanna pops up on the comments.

And when I wrote to her, asking if there will be a version for Kindle, she replied that it will be out in about two weeks.