03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Andrew Weil, Ram Dass And The Harvard Psychedelic Club

Aldous Huxley was a major inspiration for the four men Don Lattin profiles in this lively retelling of the start of America's romance with hallucinogenic drugs. In its day, Huxley's The Doors of Perception (1954) served as the premier guide for experimenting with and studying the effects of mind-altering chemicals on human consciousness. Huxley was also a connector. No sooner had M.I.T. religion scholar Huston Smith (The World's Religions) mentioned to Huxley in 1960 that he had never had a mystical experience than Huxley gave him Timothy Leary's telephone number at Harvard as a source of a drug that would do the trick.

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