Big News: The one-and-only City Lights will be publishing by new nonfiction book, White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg! WHS is an in-depth look at how Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg shared ideas, contacts, inspiration, and influence to launch the spiritual psychedelic revolution in 1960s America. To write the book, I gathered unpublished correspondence between Leary and Ginsberg from special collections archives (mainly, the Allen Ginsberg Papers at Stanford University, along with the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, and the Dodd Research Center at University of Connecticut) to gain new insights into their relationship. The book also uses previously unpublished scientific presentations by Leary, CIA files on both men, and incredible letters to the leading musicians, writers, artists, and underground personalities of the time to fill out the portait of the men and their times. Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley, Thelonious Monk, Willem de Kooning, William Burroughs, Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground, Abbie Hoffman, Albert Hofman, G. Gordon Liddy, Charles Manson, Robert Kennedy, Brion Gysin, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love... At one point or another, the story of Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary intersects with every individual and group that shaped the Sixties and, in turn, America.
Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary were the public faces of America’s psychedelic revolution. They remain two of the most famous, controversial and charismatic members of the American counterculture. Over the course of their forty year friendship, they also led two of the most colorful lives in American history. Both men were expelled from foreign countries for being subversive influences; both testified in Congressional hearings on the use of drugs; and both had their faces plastered on magazine covers while being simultaneously vilified - and occasionally imprisoned – for their vocal support of controversial causes. In 1970, Dr. Leary was broken out of prison in San Luis Obispo by The Weathermen and escaped to Algeria where he lived with Eldridge Cleaver and other members of the Black Panther party. He wrote a letter to Allen Ginsberg from Algeria saying, “Beloved Brother, Algeria is perfect. Great political Satori… Socialism works here…Young people smiling… no irritation… no money hustle, spirit of youth & growth… We’ve been given papers as political refugees—we are no longer American!... Eldridge is a genial genius. So much to talk about dear Brother. Please come over soon. We long to see you & hug you.”
The White Hand Society examines the life, times and friendship of these two larger-than-life figures and the incredible impact their relationship had on America.
Obviously, this is just the first of many updates I'll share as White Hand Society moves toward a fall release. I'll continue posting updates - including a more thorough synopsis - on the progress of the book at every stage. I'll hope you'll stick around for the next part of the journey...