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LSD: My Problem Child Paperback – December 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Paperback, December 1, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


The discovery of the psychedelic properties of LSD was a milestone in the history of consciousness. Albert Hofmann's personal story of that discovery and its consequences is one of my favorite books. --- Andrew Weil, M.D., author of From Chocolate to Morphine, The Natural Mind, and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

Aldous wrote about LSD that 'it is a gratuitous grace neither necessary nor sufficient for salvation.' However, it provides the opportunity to discover and make creative use of the infinite possibilities of the human mind. Probably The Doors of Perception might not have been written were it not for Albert's 'Problem Child.' Thank you, Albert. --Laura Huxley, widow of Aldous Huxley and author of This Timeless Moment.

The current revival of the psychedelic aesthetic in art, design, fashion, music and film is testament to the revolutionary power of LSD. Its complex nature and true impact, however, remains unrecognized and this book provides both a personal history as well as rigorous analysis of this enduring phenomenon --Christoph Grunenberg, Director of Tate Liverpool and curator and editor of Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: MAPS (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966001982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966001983
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,683,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. T. Towers on May 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who accidentally invented LSD -- and then tested it on himself in the first human LSD trial -- presents a fascinating account of the first acid trips, including quite readable descriptions of the chemistry involved and first-person accounts from the first acid pioneers. He also did groundbreaking research into the natural hallucinogens of Mexico and he provides insightful comparisons of LSD and mushrooms. Why "My Problem Child"? Because advocating LSD was not his trip -- he strongly believes LSD can be a beneficial way for one to get to know oneself and experience other worlds, but only if the user is mentally and physically prepared for the journey. Kids in the 60s getting drunk and dropping ten hits gave the drug a bad name, to say the least. This book does include some practical information on avoiding (or surviving) bad trips, as well. Excellent source for anyone on either side of the issue of hallucinogens and their relationship to human consciousness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives tremendous insight into Albert Hoffmann's life and research. Hoffmann is the scientist who, in 1938, first isolated the compound LSD-25 from ergot. At the time, Hoffmann had no idea that this compound had what we've come to know as psychedelic properties. He certainly didn't foresee the psychedelic craze of the 1960s.

Hoffmann, who died in 2008 at the age of 102, tells us how his research began, how it progessed, and what, ultimately, went wrong. Some of the early researchers (including Hoffmann) took the LSD and detailed their "trips" in journals. Excerpts of these are shared with us, which make for fascinating reading.

Hoffmann talks a lot about the psychiatric research associated with LSD, though he doesn't get into the other research, such as the amazing work done with alcoholics and heroin addicts. He mentions in passing the CIA's experiments on unknowing victims. I would have liked a bit more information on these issues to be included, since these were such important parts of LSD's history. However, Hoffmann didn't stray far from his own personal research and experiences.
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Format: Hardcover
This book must be extremely rare to find a physical copy so if you are interested in reading it I suggest you look online (I read it at [...]). This book gives a complete history of the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman's research leading up to the discovery of LSD-25 as well its effects on society at the time, its uses, and even his correspondence with various writers and other enthusaists (I bet you didn't know that he frequently met up with Aldous Huxley). A quote in his introduction describes what he intends to write about:

"It is my desire in this book to give a comprehensive picture of LSD, its origin, its effects, and its dangers, in order to guard against increasing abuse of this extraordinary drug... I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonder child."

The beginning parts on his initial work with egrot alkaloids and his synthesis of LSD is probably only of interest to a chemist, but it isn't hopelessly complicated (I enjoyed that section even with my minimal understanding of chemistry). It wasn't until years after its initial founding that he was drawn back to it and discovered its psychedelic qualities. It goes on to discuss the thrill/fear of his first accidental trip and his awe of its capabilities. This book is more than just an account of events and history. Unlike typical scientific writings, it often discusses his feelings and beliefs about LSD and even his travels to other countries for personal psychedelic research. The last chapter especially deals with spirituality and the use of psychedelics.
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Format: Paperback
All of our lives have been changed by the inquisitive nature of Albert Hofmann. The chemical that called him back was the twenty-fifth derivative of lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD-25, or simply, LSD.

The modern age of psychiatric medications is a direct off shoot of LSD experimentation. Computer technology, particularly personal computers and `shareware', have strong roots in LSD use. LSD: My Problem Child is Albert Hofmann's own story. Using a small, but known amount, on April 19, 1943 Albert Hofmann became the first person to deliberately ingest LSD. Soon other chemists and members of the Sandoz executive staff "experimented" with Hofmann's highly unusual chemical. They realized that LSD-25 had enormous potential.

Hofmann's work with LSD brought him into the search for the active constituents of "Mexican Magic Mushrooms". These almost lost shamanistic tools made their way to Hofmann's laboratory due to their similar effects to LSD. Hofmann was able to synthesize the active components and named them psilocybin and psilocin. A large portion of LSD: My Problem Child is devoted to Hofmann's communication with authors, philosophers, and major contemporary icons (such as Timothy Leary, who Hofmann liked personally but believed was short sighted about the dangers he faced personally and the advocating of hallucinogen consumption by American youth). LSD: My Problem Child is a quick, entertaining read.
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