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The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss [Kindle Edition]

Dennis McKenna
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99

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Book Description

From the Foreword of The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss:

When Dennis asked me to write a foreword for this book, I was surprised and delighted. It had never occurred to me that such a book would require any foreword at all. Dennis is a well-respected researcher and thinker, and many of us have read his scientific papers or listened with pleasure to his interdisciplinary lectures, which combine ethnobotany, psychopharmacology, history, and philosophical reflections. But this is not an academic book. It is the long-awaited account of his lifelong relationship with his older brother Terence, the great raconteur of wide-reaching philosophical and eschatological ideas. In other words, what we have here is the privilege of going behind the curtains and peering into the private lives of these two extraordinary brothers, the poet and the scientist, the public figure and the more retiring originator of ideas, one who haunts us from the invisible yet pervasive World Wide Web (his words still fresh and even more relevant twelve years after his death), the other still with us, wise, and with an acute sense of humor. Like his brother, Dennis is a teacher from whom we still have much to learn.

Luis Eduardo Luna
Wasiwaska
Florianópolis, Brazil
August 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis McKenna currently teaches in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia and has conducted research in ethnopharmacology for over 30 years. He is a founding board member of the Heer Research Institute, a non-prot organization that supports research on therapeutic applications of psychedelics. Dennis was a key investigator on the Hoasca Project, the rst biomedical investigation of a psychedelic sacrament used in Brazil.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2239 KB
  • Print Length: 509 pages
  • Publisher: Polaris Publications, an imprint of North Star Press (November 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A8KWLYK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,888 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthbound Elves November 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Dennis McKenna raised a decent chunk of change on Kickstarter for this account of his life with Terence McKenna, his older, more famous, more unconventional, but no more psychedelically transformed brother. Contributors rest easy: it was worth every penny. This is a clear-eyed account of bleary-eyed times, solidly and sometimes poetically told. From Dennis' perspective, Terence was both "mentor and tormentor," and this combination of rivalry and loving admiration adds a novelistic complexity to the tale. We get a sympathetic but deeply grounded perspective on Terence's life and famous "raving"--whose poesis Dennis appreciates but whose excesses he frankly criticizes as only a younger brother can. For fans (students?) of Terence, Dennis provides illuminating intellectual and biographical contexts for all that evocative talk about aliens, mushroom lords, magic, and the curious notion of the Timewave. The passages in which Dennis wrestles with his own memories and interpretation of the famous "experiment at La Chorrera" are particularly informative, as he attempts to square significant weirdness with a more skeptical perspective grounded in science and a philosophical temperament far more straight-shooting and earthbound than Terence's. At the same time, Dennis does not repress his own ongoing psychedelic and cosmic Romanticism.

In the end you realize that Dennis--who has had a solid if peripatetic career in ethnopharmacology, and played an instrumental role in the spread of ayahuasca culture--is offering readers a lifestory that in many ways is just as interesting and important to current psychedelic culture as Terence's. After all, we already have tons of accounts of wild and crazy psychedelic fabulists.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and honest November 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Terence McKenna was one of a kind. For all of us who never knew him personally but have heard his unique and mesmerizing voice, been touched by his eloquence, and persuaded by the power of his insights and the courage of his imagination, "The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss" is the fireside chat with the man himself we always wished we'd had. Dennis McKenna has done something very special here. Not only has he written a compelling, highly readable and honest account of the life and death of his remarkable and amazing brother, but also he seasons his narrative with an acute social history of our times and offers us penetrating insights into the mysteries of consciousness and the magic of reality. Review by Graham Hancock, author of "Fingerprints of the Gods" and "Supernatural".
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The electric elves are laughing November 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Released on Terrance's 66th birthday, this book by his brother Dennis is a remarkable thing.

The story is about two young men, thankfully too foolish to know better, who transcended consciousness, and returned to tell the tale. Terrance the poet and Dennis the scientist.

Told with honesty and love.

Now if only we could learn how to create a society that honours such explorers. Just as we all sat slack-jawed when Armstrong set foot on the moon, we should ticker-tape the bravery of those who step to the edge of awareness. We need to find ways to debrief the ones who manage to make it back from the abyss, and to teach ourselves how to make the journey.

It must have caused Dennis a tremendous amount of pain to write the story, but on the other side I can hear Terry laughing.

Tormentor forever. With love.
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Actually About Terence McKenna December 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an auto-biography. It's not really about Terence McKenna. It's about Dennis McKenna, which would be fine, if this book hadn't been funded in the most part by people who wanted to know more about Terence - and bought by the same sorts of people.

Most of the controversial (read: interesting) elements of Terence's life are almost entirely glossed over. The fact that he apparently stopped using psychedelics after a particularly dark trip, for instance, is not addressed - although it was bought to light prior to the book's publication, it must have been edited out. This is extremely disappointing. I'm not kidding when I say that the biggest questions associated with Terence are dismissed in one or two throwaway lines, whilst pages are devoted to minor romantic relationships in Dennis' life, including high school crushes, etc.

What becomes apparent during a reading of this book is that Terence and Dennis McKenna don't appear to have been all that close. Aside from the events that Terence himself wrote about in True Hallucinations, Dennis is pretty up front about not having had a lot to do with Terence. This means that large tracts of this book are dedicated to fairly mundane details about Dennis' career and love life.

I think I could have stood the lack of detail re: Terence's personal life, had there not been quite so very much (entirely unnecessary) detail about Dennis' in here.

The book feels somewhat like a bait and switch. I very much doubt that the Kickstarter would have been funded if people had known that it would be so timid to directly address the questions we really had about Terence McKenna - what was he like as a person? Dennis says that he was very loquacious and charming, but we knew that already.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars From a fellow student.
A coming of age story about two wild neo-shamans and the journey of one into the abyss. For anyone that has experienced the psychedelic voice of Terence and from it, felt the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by m.robot
5.0 out of 5 stars True genius
The McKenna brothers are true geniuses and their story is one of bravery and inner adventures. A great tribute to them both.
Published 1 month ago by mitch smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Essental companion to "True Hallucinations"
Having recently re-read True Hallucinations and being much more impressed with it this time around, I jumped on this book as soon as I found out it existed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ilm929
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Revealing
Dennis McKenna goes out of his way to really give you a feel for the times, places, and family that produced him and Terrence, the downside is he definitely tends to get lost in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Fredstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss
The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss will certainly be long remembered as a classic in psychedelic literature for its first hand discussion of Terence and Dennis McKenna's life... Read more
Published 3 months ago by George Douvris
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading about these two brothers.
I like reading this book. It is told from the younger brother's perspective and sometimes I get the feeling is getting back at his older brother. I like the honesty. Read more
Published 3 months ago by G. Zamora
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful accounts of the lives of the McKenna brothers
Dennis eloquently provides details of the lives of two modern day western shamans. The accounts are heartfelt, detailed, and evoked many emotions on my read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Vorian14
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!
I listened to "Vision Plants" by Terence McKenna and wanted to know more about him. This book is just what I was looking for. Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. Andrade
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the book!
I was excited when I heard about this book and now happy I read it. Thanks Dennis! An honest book giving insight to both brothers and their adventures. Read it!
Published 6 months ago by Meredith Rosenvall
5.0 out of 5 stars Self-Dribbling Elf Machines... ;)
If you're a fan of older brother Terence's articulate lectures about everything from Shamanism to virtual reality, this is another delight. Read more
Published 6 months ago by E.A.
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More About the Author

Dennis McKenna is an ethnopharmacologist who has studied plant hallucinogens for over forty years. He is the author of many scientific papers, and co-author, with his brother Terence McKenna, of The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching, and Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide. He holds a doctorate from the University of British Columbia, where his research focused on ayahuasca and oo-koo-hé, two hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1990, he joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology, and in 1993 became the Aveda Corporation's Senior Research Pharmacognosist. Dennis has been an adjunct assistant professor at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota since 2001, where he teaches courses in ethnopharmacology and botanical medicine. He has taught summer field courses in Peru and Ecuador, and has conducted fieldwork throughout the upper Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization focused on the investigation of the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines.

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