Now synonymous with Sixties counterculture, LSD actually entered the American consciousness via the mainstream. Time and Life, messengers of lumpen-American respectability, trumpeted its grand arrival in a postwar landscape scoured of alluring descriptions of drug use while lesser outlets piggybacked on their coverage with stories by turns sensationalized and glowing.
Acid Hype offers the untold tale of LSD's wild journey from Brylcreem and Ivory soap to incense and peppermints. As Stephen Siff shows, the early attention lavished on the drug by the news media glorified its use in treatments for mental illness but also its status as a mystical--yet legitimate--gateway to exploring the unconscious mind. Siff's history takes readers to the center of how popular media hyped psychedelic drugs in a constantly shifting legal and social environment, producing an intricate relationship between drugs and media experience that came to define contemporary pop culture. It also traces how the breathless coverage of LSD gave way to a textbook moral panic, transforming yesterday's refined seeker of truths into an acid casualty splayed out beyond the fringe of polite society.
A vivid analysis of the history and revival of clinical psychedelic science
Psychedelic drugs are making a comeback. In the mid-twentieth century, scientists actively studied the potential of drugs like LSD and psilocybin for treating mental health problems. After a decades-long hiatus, researchers are once again testing how effective these drugs are in relieving symptoms for a wide variety of psychiatric conditions, from depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder to posttraumatic stress disorder and substance addiction. In Acid Revival, Danielle Giffort examines how this new generation of researchers and their allies are working to rehabilitate psychedelic drugs and to usher in a new era of psychedelic medicine.
As this team of researchers and mental health professionals revive the field of psychedelic science, they are haunted by the past and by one person in particular: psychedelic evangelist Timothy Leary. Drawing on extensive archival research and interviews with people working on scientific psychedelia, Giffort shows how today’s researchers tell stories about Leary as an “impure” scientist and perform his antithesis to address a series of lingering dilemmas that threaten to rupture their budding legitimacy. Acid Revival presents new information about the so-called psychedelic renaissance and highlights the cultural work involved with the reassembly of dormant areas of medical science.
This colorful and accessible history of the rise, fall, and reemergence of psychedelic medicine is infused with intriguing narratives and personalities—a story for popular science aficionados as well as for scholars of the history of science and medicine.