From Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis, authors of the PEN Center USA award-winning Dallas 1963, comes a madcap narrative about Timothy Leary's daring prison escape and run from the law.
On the moonlit evening of September 12, 1970, an ex-Harvard professor with a genius I.Q. studies a twelve-foot high fence topped with barbed wire. A few months earlier, Dr. Timothy Leary, the High Priest of LSD, had been running a gleeful campaign for California governor against Ronald Reagan. Now, Leary is six months into a ten-year prison sentence for the crime of possessing two marijuana cigarettes.
Aided by the radical Weather Underground, Leary's escape from prison is the counterculture's union of "dope and dynamite," aimed at sparking a revolution and overthrowing the government. Inside the Oval Office, President Richard Nixon drinks his way through sleepless nights as he expands the war in Vietnam and plots to unleash the United States government against his ever-expanding list of domestic enemies. Antiwar demonstrators are massing by the tens of thousands; homemade bombs are exploding everywhere; Black Panther leaders are threatening to burn down the White House; and all the while Nixon obsesses over tracking down Timothy Leary, whom he has branded "the most dangerous man in America."
Based on freshly uncovered primary sources and new firsthand interviews, The Most Dangerous Man in America is an American thriller that takes readers along for the gonzo ride of a lifetime. Spanning twenty-eight months, President Nixon's careening, global manhunt for Dr. Timothy Leary winds its way among homegrown radicals, European aristocrats, a Black Panther outpost in Algeria, an international arms dealer, hash-smuggling hippies from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and secret agents on four continents, culminating in one of the trippiest journeys through the American counterculture.
Minutaglio and Davis (Dallas 1963) make use of newly declassified FBI documents and secret White House recordings to chronicle the 28-month global hunt for Dr. Timothy Leary in this rip-roaring slice of American history. Leary, a Harvard psychology professor who became known as "the high priest of LSD," caught the attention of the Nixon administration in 1970 after he escaped from a California prison, where he was serving time for possession of marijuana. President Nixon was looking for a poster child for his War on Drugs an identifiable "bad guy" whose apprehension would signal victory and Leary fit the part. The story follows Leary's time on the run, which, aided by the radical left-wing organization the Weathermen, extended from Africa to Europe to Asia before his eventual capture by a DEA agent in Afghanistan in 1973. The authors switch among the perspectives of Leary, the agents following him abroad, and Nixon, who grows increasingly preoccupied by the case. The authors use the present tense to describe the events, giving the story line a vivid immediacy. In one scene, supported by a White House recording, Nixon and his cabinet members decide to make Leary public enemy number one and then begin shouting Leary's name in unison, as if rallying fans before a high school football game. This dramatic account is backed by extensive research, but its primary purpose is entertainment rather than education.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I enjoyed this book as it was fast paced and full of action and escapades about one of our country’s most fascinating and wildest characters, Timothy Leary. If you are a baby boomer who likes counterculture stories from the 60’s and 70’s you may enjoy this book. I ordered his biography after reading this...