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The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss by [McKenna, Dennis]
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The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Length: 508 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 2786 KB
  • Print Length: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Polaris Publications, an imprint of North Star Press (November 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 10, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,374 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Erik Davis on 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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm fairly familiar with Terence's work and his excess when it comes to spinning tall tales (and I love it!). That said, this alternate view of things, and the background provided about family life, adds a much-needed dimension to the relationship between 'Terry' and Dennis, as well as to their individual personalities.

Although only 50% of the way through reading the book, I wanted to post a positive review now to help persuade anyone sitting on the fence to go ahead and buy it now; I can't imagine its quality changing significantly after this point, it has been consistently great so far. Regardless, I'll update my review once I'm completely done.

UPDATE (29 NOV 12):
So, I'm now 75% of the way through the book, and it's continued to be an excellent ride. What I've really enjoyed is the much-needed and long-overdue reality check which the cult of personality that is "Terence McKenna" receives at the hands of his little brother. Yet, it's not a harsh reality check that destroy's any love towards Terence; in fact, it simply makes him more lovable, because you see that he's just as flawed, in his own unique way, as the rest of us. I've gained far more genuine respect for both members of the brotherhood by reading and pondering the stories told in this book than by watching any number of videos about and by them.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is as follows:

"The problem with DMT, and part of its challenge, is that the experience is inherently ineffable; it cannot be described in ordinary language, it is translinguistic. You come down, slam back into your body, out of breath, suffused with ecstasy, babbling, sobbing. And yet we are linguistic creatures, and there is a nearly irresistible impulse to try to describe it.
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