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Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood Paperback – October 11, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593763824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593763824
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Too Much to Dream

"Bebergal's beautifully nuanced prose and depths of psychological insight make this one of the best memoirs of the decade, one that also offers a uniquely valuable perspective on addiction." —Booklist

"Bebergal embarks upon a whirlwind coming-of-age journey, consorting with homeless acid-heads, occult-obsessed mall security guards, desperate hardcore punkers and other fringe dwellers. He delves into underground comics, psychedelic rock, Western ceremonial magic and lots and lots of tripping. Along the way, Bebergal presents a primer on the psychedelic era, discussing in extended non-memoir passages the history of LSD, the I-Ching, the Silver Surfer, Pink Floyd and more." —Metro

"Told with compassion and understanding . . . [Bebergal's] analysis of addictive behavior provides material for thought and discussion. In the end, Bebergal offers hope that his addictive behavior can rest, and that he's discovered the bliss of the everyday." —Publishers Weekly

"Too Much to Dream makes Catcher in the Rye look like a Boy Scout manual. With honesty and insight, Peter Bebergal, ever hard-up for mystical experience, reveals the underbelly of the countercultural slogan Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, where festered a deep spiritual quest. Lenny Bruce once said that people were leaving the church and looking for God; Bebergal’s particular journey extends that concept by taking the universe personally but finally surrendering his demons of drug addiction to the ultimate, inconceivable Mystery, while managing to keep one foot in the fantasy world.” —Paul Krassner, author of Who's to Say What's Obscene: Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today

"Too Much to Dream is at once an examination of American drug culture and a deeply personal journey of self-reflection and addiction. In Bebergal’s search for spiritual enlightenment, he dispels the myths surrounding the use and abuse of psychedelics and other mind-altering substances. This is a wonderfully powerful story that teaches us that transcendence is best found with our feet firmly planted on the ground and our 'eyes toward heaven.'"
—James Brown, author of The Los Angeles Diaries and This River

More About the Author

Peter Bebergal is the author of Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood (Soft Skull Press) and co-author of The Faith Between Us. He studied religion at Brandeis and Harvard Divinity School and writes frequently on the intersection of popular culture, religion, and science as well as reviews on science fiction and fantasy. Some of his essays and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Tablet Magazine, The Revealer, Killing the Buddha, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and The Believer. He lives in Cambridge, Mass with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DanteAl on October 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book takes on a lot: in part an engaging memoir of a suburban misfit driven to near self-destruction by his obsessive desire to uncover the Truth behind "behind the veil" of everyday existence; an entertaining look at the post-hippy "me generations'" similar quest - from Leonard Nimoy on "In Search Of", to the explosion of interest in UFOs, tarot, crystals and new forms of spirituality that made up the New Age revolution; a primer on the evolution of psychedelic culture and communication, and how it could be found, if looked for, by simply digging down a layer under the surface of mainstream media (e.g. "comix" as opposed to comic books etc.); and a fascinating look at the history of scientific (and quasi scientific) attempts to understand the significance of psychedelic drugs (or "entheogens", as we learn some researchers call them in an attempt to leave behind some heavy cultural baggage).

What emerges is very entertaining (I read it in a day) and very informative (I learned, for example, about a roomful of non-drug-taking divinity students in the basement of a nearby university chapel on Good Friday tripping their brains out on psilocybin as part of a research project). Some of the expected players make an appearance (Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey etc.) but, particularly the former, emerge as figures who probably did more harm than good to their ultimate quest of "turning on" America, and bringing up about a deep shift in our collective consciousness. More interesting, to me at least, were some of the lesser-known players - the author in many cases interviewed people at the true heart of things for this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Duncan Armstrong on September 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
an excellent look at recovery, the spiritual process of reappraising the past and moving on into the future. Enjoyed the musical context and the solid, realistic message of recovery.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By brianc-sf on May 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased the book after Peter Bebergal had an excellent appearance in a Gweek (BoingBoing) podcast. The memoir is a self-reflection on addiction; an history of hallucinogens and American mysticism and their relationship to drug addiction, comics, and music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. An excellent foreword by Peter Coyote (unfortunately, Bebergal is not able to sustain that same high level of writing). The book has moments of fascinating insight but, unfortunately, is burdened with too much boilerplate history and often meandering narrative.
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