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Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World Hardcover – March 16, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drug dealers with delusions of grandeur populate this colorful but overwrought history of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a 1960s-era narcotics ring–cum–hippie church. Influenced by psychedelic prophet Timothy Leary—who called the group's leader, former high school bully John Griggs, the holiest man in America—the California-based Brotherhood styled its cheap, extra-strength Orange Sunshine brand of LSD as a pathway to God. Journalist Schou (Kill the Messenger) takes the spiritual purpose of these psychedelic warriors, along with their solemn acid-dropping sacraments and utopian pipe dreams, rather too seriously. (He likewise inflates their sporadic ventures scoring Mexican marijuana and Afghan hashish into a global smuggling empire.) His narrative quickly devolves into a haphazard picaresque of drug deals, drug busts, overdoses, surfing, rock concerts (Jimi Hendrix does a cameo), orgies, and people living in teepees. Schou sometimes forgets that reading about other people's acid trips—The whole sky took on huge forms of dancing Buddhas and the energy got really bright—is a drag. Still, the mixture of lively freakery and stoned pomposity gives his portrait of countercultural excess an authentic period feel. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was a group of 1960s hippie visionaries with a plan. Imagine an America in which LSD is a common source of inspiration and insight for the whole populace, and the pronouncements of Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, and other academic space cowboys are prized philosophical touchstones. Such, more or less, was the group’s goal as producer-distributors of the famous Orange Sunshine LSD that was a part of campus all over America in the late ’60s. At its organizational peak, the Brotherhood funded the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers to successfully break Leary out of prison. Schou interviewed remaining Brotherhood members (who, unlike acid-gobbling pop musicians, seem to have largely retained their memories), gleaning impressive amounts of detail for his discussions of the ins and outs of the era’s drug trade and the moving of vast quantities of marijuana and hashish along with the LSD. Loaded with little-known historical mots, this is an excellent chronicle of a piece of history unlikely to be repeated. --Mike Tribby

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; F First Edition edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312551835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312551834
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #953,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
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.....
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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.
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