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Friday, January 26, 2018

Mondo 2000 on the new Leary book

The new Timothy Leary book, The Most Dangerous Man in America, which I need to try to get around to soon, is taken up in a new interview of one of the authors, Steven L. Davis, by R.U. Sirius. The interview itself is quite interesting, but the implied endorsement also caught my attention. R.U. Sirius was a friend of Leary's and also wrote a good biography of Leary; the interview implies the new book is worth reading.

Here is a striking quote from Davis, which R.U. Sirius highlighted on Twitter: "Tim had to keep shape-shifting to save his own skin. He basically became a pawn of both the far left and the far right (Nixon and his cronies) during this era – and of course when everything ended and he looked back on it, he realized that the law-and-order struggles between the far left and the far right were two sides of the same coin. I think the experience made him suspicious of any alliance after that. Hell, it would do the same to any of us!"

I'm not on board with all of Davis' comments about ending the draft -- it seem to me that ending the draft ended a great evil -- but they are quite interesting.


tony smyth said...

I'm amazed there hasn't been a movie made about Leary, thought the odds of it being fair and nuanced are low.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

The new book is getting a LOT of publicity, so perhaps the chance of a movie has gone up recently. I haven't mentioned every notice I've seen, but I've spotted reviews in the Wall Street Journal and The Week magazine.

I had a post in 2016 about a Leary miniseries in the works on HBO, but I've seen nothing about it recently:

michael said...

Leonardo DiCaprio's father George was good friends with Leary, and there was buzz about Leonardo playing Leary in a film based on Flashbacks, but that was around 2006 or so: I doubt it will happen.

A feature length, high-production value film on Leary seems "missing" from the culture, as does a a feature on General Smedley Darlington Butler.

chas said...

War is a racket?

michael said...


Yea, Butler wrote that (famous thin book), but Crikeys!, if you wanna get a feel for his epic life, read the adult graphic non-fiction book Devil Dog:

A long time ago, Oliver Stone said he wanted to do a movie based on Butler, but now? I'd rather Stone stay away from that.

PQ said...

I went to an event here in Austin where the authors discussed their relationship with Leary, the book, and the era. It was a blast. And yes, there was plenty of talk about how there needs to be a Leary movie or miniseries.

The book is fantastic, too. I zipped thru it in a day or two because it's such a page-turner. It focuses entirely on the 2-year period starting when Leary was sent to prison in California, then escaped, and had his adventures in Africa and Europe. A familiar series of events from other Leary bios but the detail presented here is excellent, including behind-the-scenes of the Nixon administration, and the authors are great storytellers.

I definitely recommend it.