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Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD Hardcover – June 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This detailed account of the career and influence of the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann captures the character but not the brilliance of its subject. Born in 1906, Hofmann's life spans over a period of unprecedented technological change and industrial advancement but marred by the devastation of the world wars. Hagenbach and Wertmuller cover Hofmann's early discoveries up to the twenty-fifth attempt at a derivative, the one that would make him famous and infamous, LSD-25. They follow the thread of his discovery into 1960s, the Beats, the CIA, and further, including the eventual imprisonment of users, many of whom Hofmann contacted sympathetically. At times the book comes across as pre-emptively defensive, written like a strange leaflet handed out in the street. The authors fail to sound credible, for example, when describing a conference attended by "more than eighty well-known scientists, drug experts, artists and observers from around the world." Dozens of boxed quotes- from random cultural figures of the time-distract from the main text and undermine the authors' attempt at a comprehensive biographical or even cultural study.

Review

"Albert Hofmann's discovery of LSD, the most potent mind-expanding substance ever found, was an event of multiple synchronicities...the story of LSD and its potential role in society is however far from over." -- Ralph Metzner, Ph. D., Author of The Unfolding Self and Green Psychology

"This book is more than a superb biography of Albert Hofmann, it's the story of LSD and pretty much covers everything of importance in the scientific, social, spiritual and artistic realms that resulted from his epochal discovery." -- Michael Horowitz, Psychoactive Drug Historian, Editor

"Much more interesting than a conventional biography, this book is a grand sweep of how his discovery affected civilization. That they chose to highlight how his work affected vast areas of world culture makes this a reference book as well as a history of one very long and valued life.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Synergetic Press (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907791468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907791461
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dieter Hagenbach was born 1943 in Basel, Switzerland and studied in architecture and the arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf, Germany. In 1975 he founded Sphinx publishing house, with works by Joseph Campbell, H.R. Giger, George Gurdjieff, Jean Houston, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, among others. From 1977-1986 he was editor of Sphinx magazine and the German language edition of the Brain/Mind Bulletin.

Dieter Hagenbach met Albert Hofmann in the mid-1970s and remained his friend until his death. In 1986 he published Albert Hofmann's book Einsichten Ausblicke (Insight Outlook). From 1990-2005 Hagenbach acted as a literary agent. In 1993 he launched the Gaia Media Foundation. He was initiator and program manager of the international symposium "LSD - Problem Child and Wonder Drug" in Basel, 2006, on the occasion of Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday, and was in charge of the program for the 2008 "World Psychedelic Forum" in Basel. Since 2002 Dieter Hagenbach has been the editor of the Gaia Media Foundation website and the monthly electronic GoodNewsLetter.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rahasya Poe on June 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofman and His Discovery of LSD
By Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller
ISBN 978-090779144-7 (Synergetic Press-2013)

I suppose most of us remember our "first time" events that were life changing. Growing up in the 60's, going to college, and being lured into a world controlled by corporate agendas was a dangerous spiritual path until a friend said, "Try this". It was my first LSD trip and looking back it probably saved me from a lifetime of regrets because it opened my mind to the insanity of the world which was being force fed to me from every organization, government and religion and especially the media. It was an engaging read from cover to cover to peer into the life and times of Albert Hofman and what he experienced being the first person to go on this amazing trip. I think it's incalculable to even try to imagine the effect LSD and hallucinogens in general have had on the human collective consciousness. A must read for anyone interested in conscious evolution and alternate realities.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide Magazine
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Druitt on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book has been long overdue. Finally we have a reference book that ties together all the loose ends of an important subject, the discovery and use of LSD and other late 20th Century mind-opening substances. It is one of the many absurdities and crimes of the present times that such taboo still hangs over the subject as we are told what we can and cannot do with our minds, whilst the military industrial complex, which claims to know best, still churns out other chemicals with impunity to inflict misery and suffering on the innocent.

The illustrations alone are worth the purchase, from Alex Grey to The Furry Freak Brothers. The book manages to tie together a veritable Who's Who of people and places, from Huxley to Timothy Leary, Cary Grant to the film sets for the film Alien, with of course the figure of Albert Hofmann, whose long life is the subject of the book, looming over all even if, at times, he seems somewhat bemused at the twists and turns of his 'problem child'.

The bibliography is another gem and a further reason to have this book on your shelf. This is a must buy for anybody interested in one of the most important discoveries of the modern era.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Rio Hahn on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Mystic Chemist stands as a unique historical document in the history of substances that alter human consciousness. Amongst those substances, LSD is considered by many to be one of the most important to be discovered in the history of humanity. Indeed, in 2007 readers of the Daily Telegraph voted Albert Hofmann the "greatest living genius."

Hofmann's "genius" resided in trusting his intuition and re-synthesizing LSD-25 five years after it had been shelved by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, where Hofmann worked. Initial experiments by the Sandoz pharmacological department researchers and physicians showed less than expected results and the substance was removed from the research list. Hofmann later commented that he returned to the shelved substance based on "...more than a feeling - the chemical structure appealed to me - that prompted me to take that extraordinary step." On April 16, 1943 after Hofmann carefully re-synthesized the chemical he returned home from his lab due to the experience of "unusual effects." He later postulated "perhaps some of the LSD solution got on my fingertips during recrystallization and a trace of the substance was absorbed into my skin." The rest, as they say, is history.

LSD has turned out to be one of the most potent and important substances know to man. In Hofmann's words, "LSD is the medicine par excellence for the Occidental mind." LSD has revolutionized modern psychology, and is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the social changes of the 1960's, as well as opening the door to creative activities that have transformed our world. The late Steve Jobs commented that "Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By don jones on October 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
world changing man
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