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on September 20, 2010
I'm surprised at the negative reviews of this book as far as content is concerned. Nick interviewed all persons willing to give input into his book.
Many of the "brothers" are silent today. They are laying low, out of sight and hopefully out of the attention of the agencies who pursued us for so many years.
For many years, late into the seventies, I was stopped and searched by Customs agents whenever I was returning from an international trip. It had the effect of making one desire to be invisible. I don't personally know or remember, "Thumper." He apparently became a protege of John Gale after I left. But much of what he details sounds accurate. The theme I most appreciate about this particular story about the Brotherhood is that (at least in the sixties) we did not exist to make money (although money is nice) but were greatly fueled by a desire to change a world which seemed to be heading for violent chaos or at the very least, a mindless- cookie cutter society. We had become transformed by the taking of LSD and mellowed by the smoking of pot and hashish. This book describes the feeling of those times.
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VINE VOICEon May 14, 2010
This is a great book for anyone interested in the 60s, the counterculture, lsd, and the period of time when many thought a cosmic change of human consciousness was possible. Having just finished "The Harvard Psychedelic Club," I was happy to find a completely different look at the same period in "Orange Sunshine."

Although Leary figures in both books, "Orange Sunshine" is not about Harvard Professors, Beatnik Poets or famous writers. The Brotherhood was made up of lower middle-class suburban boys whose interest in cars and football were replaced by visions of god after taking LSD. John Griggs, the charismatic leader, had visions of establishing a hippie utopia on a tropical island and began selling some drugs to finance his vision. Griggs, an apparently sincere religious seeker, saw his vision give way to ego and money as the brotherhood morphed into an international drug smuggling ring.

This rise and fall takes place in suburban Orange County, Mexico, Afghanistan and Maui, and makes for an intiguing social history. The cast of characters, their adventures, their acid trips and their legal skirmishes provide great stories and add to the rich story of that decade. Highly recommended.
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on March 27, 2010
First I have to note that Nick Schou and I go back a few years. He gave my first reporting job back at OC Weekly in 1996. He's an outstanding writer, reporter and friend. And he knows a good story when he finds one.

Here he's managed to describe in surprisingly colorful detail an underground of hippie drug smugglers that spent the late 1960s hopping between Laguna Beach, Maui and Afghanistan. Tim Leary's here, of course, but so are a band of characters far more interesting and idealistic, in my opinion. That nearly all spoke to Schou on the record is testament to his skills as a reporter.

One one level this is a crime story: the evolution of a hippie drug smuggling operation and the cops who eventually took it down. But it's also a larger than life story about people who used highly illegal and unconventional ways to, in their point of view, bring peace on earth.

Put simply, it's a fascinating read.
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on March 26, 2012
This is the sort of book, the sort of content that one feels priveledged to read.
Often i have wondered what REALLY happened in the 'summer of love' and the subculture
that was pushing LSD as the magic drug to connect people to their spirit, but it is more than that,
it is the culture, the folklore, Timothy Leary and the much talked of John Griggs...It is surfing folklore
of surfers smuggling hash in hollowed out surfboards, and here in "Orange Sunshine' we see how prevelant it
really was...Jimi Hendrix drops by towards the end when the cartel moved to Hawaii...The parties, the freedom,
the utopian dream they had in the beginning and seeing that unwind into just another drug running operation.

'Orange Sunshine' really gives you the impression that the creators of the 'Brotherhood Of Eternal Love'
had a pure intention about spreading the use of LSD to the whole of humanity...and their intention and belief
was that it could save the world from corruption, hate and greed. The feeling/scenes at the beginning of the book
are enticing to say the least, i doubt there are many people who havent dreamed of moving to a remote
island with all their best friends and family and starting something pure.

I found the book very well researched and it sort of stumped me that the author could get so
many of them to speak...and also that he managed to find the original law enforcement and policemen
who were busting these people in the era.

Having said that, I am sure there was people who were there as part of the 'Brotherhood Of Eternal Love'
that perhaps dont like the book, for they probably wished the story was never told or they were upset they were not asked to contribute their version of events.....

There is perhaps 50 solid characters in this book...but there is probably
another book in this factual story from the free love era, but i doubt anyone would have the dedication that the Author Nick Shou had.

It is a tell all book in some ways....it told me enough and didnt leave me wanting more. The final chapters really
answered most of my questions...although it did lead me into looking into the John Griggs character who
Timothy Leary so admired...and also made me want to revisit the achetype, 'Island' by Aldous Huxley.

I wrote this the day i finished it and today have recommended it to many many friends!
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on May 7, 2013
Imagine getting blasted on pot and putting Jimi Hendrix's "Band of Gypsies" on the stereo system. A few minutes later, Hendrix himself walks in with a six-pack of Miller High Life, saying "I don't like that album. It's imperfect." This is not fantasy but reality. It's the summer of 1970 on Maui, Hawaii, where Hendrix performed a free concert on the slopes of the Haleakala Volcano while being filmed, along with Les Potts (the lucky partaker of Hendrix's beer) and other Brotherhood of Eternal Love members for the music documentary, Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge. This scene doesn't begin to describe the incidents and events packed into this history of the early LSD-drenched days of the sixties in the LA area (with excursions to Hawaii and Afghanistan). Many books have been written about the sixties. This one concentrates specifically on the cast of bizarre characters who morphed from petty rebel-with-a-cause-type criminals running around looking for people to beat up, into peaceniks out to save the world by means of (literally) millions of doses of Orange Sunshine - reputed to be the finest acid ever produced on a mass scale.

Some of these events are so unbelievable as to scarcely be imagined and unlikely to ever occur again in any locale, like the 1970 "Christmas Happening" in Laguna Canyon, which attempted to outdo Woodstock by getting all 25,000 participants (150,000 were expected) high on acid after thousands of hits Orange Sunshine were dumped over the crowd by plane. The festival, with hordes of naked people, many freely having sex and many more extremely hungry due to nonexistent planning for food, was brutally broken up and cleared out a day later by the police. Then there was the very far-out smuggling operation employing a sailboat boat packed with high-grade marijuana that successfully made the journey from Mexico to Hawaii through high seas and storms - by a crew with little-to-no maritime experience and no navigation equipment except the stars

For all the wildness and insane schemes, this was an unprecedented era in modern times unlikely ever to be to repeated, when economic prosperity, an increasingly educated population, and the irrepressible American brand of creativity and individualism came together and flared for a few years before too many red lines were crossed and the Establishment came down hard. We have taken quite a detour since (Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes) but things may be picking up again with the groundswell of national support for marijuana legalization. The sixties is not over yet.

Nicholas Schou did a lot of digging and has succeeded in weaving a richly detailed yet economically told account. The major lacuna, to my mind, is with so much focus on the histrionics and spectacles, and the author's suppressing of his own point of view in the interest of journalistic objectivity, we seldom get into the actual heads of the main actors (John Griggs, Eddie Padilla, Johnny Gale, Timothy Leary, etc.). LSD was the prime mover of this history, yet one almost suspects Schou himself has never ingested any (I can't believe he hasn't), what with the utter absence of any sustained descriptions of the LSD experience that would help clarify for the uninitiated reader what animated these crazy people to live fascinating lives on the edge (here we miss our genius drug muse Terence McKenna, e.g. True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise).
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on March 10, 2015
This is that rare thing -- a book that is both well researched AND well written. I respect, and highly recommend, this kind of writing. The narrative "voice" is clear and interesting, never veers into silly attempts at "entertainment," but also never goes "dry" and only-academic. I've been researching the Sixties ever since I survived it (them?), and this is one of the best accounts I've come across. Highly interesting to get, finally, the real information of the myriad ways in which one drug influenced what happened in that magical decade, and how we remember it -- such as, for just one example, Altamont. Now we know -- it had nothing to do with Sunny Barger, or any bike getting knocked over. The author's work and skill is highly appreciated.
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on September 2, 2011
I loved this book, but I am very interested in 1960's & 1970's culture. Moreover, I am a lifelong resident of Southern California & have lived in Orange County for 33 years, so this was fascinating! I had first read about The Brotherhood of Eternal Love in the brilliant book, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: the CIA, the Sixties & Beyond by Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain. Ever since then, I was intrigued because the Brotherhood was from MY 'hood! Laguna Beach is a charming coastal town now & during the 1960's it was a haven for artists & hippies. It was also fairly Conservative (as most of Orange County is today), so it is amazing that this large & very successful drug operation was taking place there. A highly detailed account of the inner workings of this pretty secretive organization & an historical treat for those living in the "OC".
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on March 16, 2010
Nicholas Schou has done a remarkable job demystifying the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, one of the most secretive and mysterious counterculture groups of the 1960s. The first historian to speak extensively with the group's original members, Schou sorts fact from fiction and shows how an American utopian movement morphed into criminal organization. Orange Sunshine is an important addition to the historical literature of the 1960s.

Peter Maguire is the author of Law and War, Facing Death in Cambodia, and Scammers (forthcoming).
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on March 27, 2014
Great reporting. The only reason, I held back one star was the historical weak story line on the Maui connection, where I lived from 1974 until 1997. I knew several of the members who weren't even mentioned in the book despite their relatively high ranking within this mafia. I guess this was a testament to their foresight, 'keep a low profile". We joked about the Olinda Row millionaires. There was no group altruism or benevolence except at it's inception. Casualties abound. Jackie Eberle is a prime example of LSD burnout. One of these GURUS (creeps) or a group of GURUS could have put together a hui (Hawaiian for familial grouping) and at a bare minimum kept Jackie housed, with medical care, etc. A true funny story. KJ( acronym of his real name) a local born Caucasian brought back 200 lbs. of primo Afghanistan hashish stamped with some sort of mandala. Well, KJ buried it for a rainy day. He was going to build a $50K cottage which in 1980 dollars was a lot. He dug it up. It smelled wonderful and oh the taste was ever so sweet. Only problem, no THC left. As we say in Hawaii, bad BACHI!! tough luck for KJ who was a good guy, just greedy like all of them. I reaped some peripheral benefits so my hands aren't exactly clean either. Anyway. Great story by Nick Schou.....IMUA.....
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on June 30, 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is peopled with interesting characters, places, and events. It is well written and kept my interest from beginning to end. It also really tells what was wrong with the 60s counterculture and it is fascinating to me to see how these lessons have been largely forgotten or conveniently ignored today. There was an idea that people could live communally and progress to some kind of utopia, but the book reveals that human nature cannot be wrung out of people, despite the best of intentions. Egotism, ambition, greed, and jealousy are not characteristics restricted to wall street bankers and oil executives.
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