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I Have America Surrounded: A Biography of Timothy Leary Hardcover – September 25, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books; 1St Edition edition (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569803153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569803158
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,517,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Higgs has written for British publications including The Guardian, Mojo and The Independent, and was BAFTA nominated for the innovative children’s television program TooMuch TV, which he wrote and produced. He created the long running quiz show X Marks The Spot for BBC Radio 4, has worked extensively in children’s television and animation, and has produced a number of best-selling videogames. He lives in Brighton, England with his partner and two children.

Customer Reviews

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Read this and you will realize how lucky that generation was to have a figure-head like Tim Leary.
Halifax Student Account
John Higg's insightful biography "I Have America Surrounded" reads like a mystery novel focusing on Timothy Leary, the fugitive.
Sean P. Kearney
Like other visionaries, he was who he was, not always likable or kind, but bent on living his vision.
Eileen Charles Hyatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sean P. Kearney on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Harvard psychologist, LSD guru, and transhumanist pioneer Timothy Leary was found of saying, "There are 24 Timothy Leary's" and "You get the Timothy Leary you deserve." John Higg's insightful biography "I Have America Surrounded" reads like a mystery novel focusing on Timothy Leary, the fugitive. Higg's explores in depth the events of Leary's escape from prison and adventures on the run beginning in 1970 after announcing that he would face Ronald Reagan in the race for Governor of California.

Unlike Robert Greenfield's recent bio-tabloid or Leary's auto-biography "Flashbacks," "I Have America Surrounded" is a much more complete story of a fascinating, flawed, and yet undeniably brilliant mind. Higgs explores the motivations, misteps, and impact of Leary's works and life with insight from many of the people who were closest to Leary at the time including Brian Barritt, Michael Horowitz, and Joanna Harcourt-Smith.

If you are looking for Timothy Leary 101, this is it. I can't recommend this book highly enough and look forward to hearing reviews from other readers.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Theseus Augustus on January 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike the Greenfield biography, this bio is told from the perspective of an insider to 21st century psychedelic culture. Higgs explores the many contributions that this flawed man made both to the methodology and history of psychedelics, but also the lasting contributions he made in the fields of psychological testing, the human potential movement, the personal computer, and the decade of the sixties.

You are likely to come away from this book convinced that everything good about the sixties was due to Leary, and if it had not been for Leary that decade would have probably been a much darker and more violent time.

Leary's serious flaws, the many people he disappointed, his many failures and drop-outs, and later collaboration with federal law enforcement are covered extensively. This biography is critical yet balanced, something that cannot be said of other biographies (including Leary's own).
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
British biographer John Higgs draws upon previously unavailable archive of documents in "I Have America Surrounded: The Life Of Timothy Leary", new biography of Timothy Leary, the brilliant Harvard University psychologist who was one of the leading proponents of using psychedelic drugs like LSD to expand the mind's perception. A figure of controversy who has achieved an almost cult-like status in the history of the 1960s drug culture - and the man who coined the phrase `tune in, turn on, drop out' as a mantra of that era - Leary conducted research that led to changes in popular American culture as reflected in its music, cyber-culture, the Mind-Body-Soul movement, and clinical psychological profiling. Very highly recommended reading and an appropriate addition to academic and community library American Biography collections, "I Have America Surrounded" is a compelling, informed, and informative biography of one of the key figures in the `hippie' cultural movement that stamped the baby boomer coming-of-age experience on and off the college campus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair) on August 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A very entertaining and engrossing biography that manages to shed new light on aspects to Leary's life not covered in other works.

The author performs exhaustive research concerning Leary's history. This includes formative experiences and historical events that helped shape the fascinating and unpredictable directions Leary took his own brain AND an entire culture.

There is a respectable balance between showcasing the subject's remarkable intellectual and lifestyle achievements and providing insights into the more controversial inner workings of politics and supposed deals with government.

The human side of Leary shines through in the dynamic stories of his tumultuous family life and relationships with key friends; and notably several beautiful, intriguing women.

Leary was unique in that for every person who claimed him to be an egoist or megalomaniac, there seemed to be 20 or 30 proclaiming him to be the seminal inspiration to their lives. Both demonized and lauded as an eternal hero, we are presented with a protagonist unlike anyone who has ever lived.

Those close to him claimed he possessed an excitement and caliber of intellect that was unparalleled. Leary was a sort of anthropomorphic litmus test of where many of us have stood on issues of libertarianism, psychology, politics, and culture.

He ignited a storm of evolutionary thinking and suffered deeply for his stance - like other great historical figures.

The author succeeds in providing an objective overview of an otherwise incendiary topic.

Readers are happily left with the ultimate option that would have made Leary S.M.I.L.E.

Just Say Know
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lost Johnny on August 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As everyone else has said, this is a much better book than Robert Greenfield's hack biography. Higgs tries to understand Leary's theories (not always easy, it must be said, but beyond way beyond the intellectual capacity of Greenfield) and his significance to the sixties and beyond. He shows Leary's humour, adventurousness and selfishness. What a life Leary had and he had a great mind too, when he could focus it....

Higgs has said that one of the highlights of writing the book was that he got to interview Robert Anton Wilson. (Greenfield apparently did do too, but edited most of RAWs comments out because they were not negative enough.)

Recommended for anyone wanting to understand more about Leary, LSD and the sixties. It's fashionable amongst some of the weaker contemporary writers on psychedelics to blame everything on Leary-- even Sasha Shulgin has said that Leary had little to do with the banning of LSD.
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