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When Dr. Timothy Leary escaped from Folsom prison in 1970, thus becoming an international fugitive, and Dr. Richard Alpert turned his attention towards a yogic path and became Baba Ram Dass, the world psychedelic movement was suddenly relieved of its two most prominent (and often controversial) spokesmen. Barely missing a beat Terence McKenna emerged around 1975 to carry the torch for consciousness-altering drugs, particularly psychedelic plants and mushrooms.
The publication of landmark works such as The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I-Ching, in 1975, and later, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, which finds intriguing common ground between psilocybin mushrooms and the emergence of consciousness in early humans, solidified McKenna as the next generation's most profoundly resonant voice to speak on behalf the psychedelic movement. McKenna, however, lacked the autobiographical bent of his predecessor, Leary, and many admirers of his work were left deeply curious to find out more of the man himself. When Terence died of cancer in 2000, many feared that this remarkable rogue scholar's personal history might never be told.
Now, Dennis McKenna, Terence's younger brother and an ethnopharmacologist who co-authored two books with Terence-- The Invisible Landscape and Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (under pseudonyms)--has brought forth a much-anticipated literary gift, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna.
This work, which was aided by the most successful book-oriented Kickstarter campaign to date, tells the tale of growing up, traveling, and working with one of the most prominent and intriguing counterculture figures in recent history. Within its pages we hear of the McKenna family history, the adventures of two brothers growing up in small-town America in the fifties, coming of age during the turbulent sixties, undertaking grand adventures, both terrestrial and otherworldly, in the seventies, and traveling down the winding river of adult life in the eighties and nineties. Also given is a detailed account, at times quite poignant, of the last days of Terence’s life here on Earth.
Full of observations and insights on everything from Terence’s work to politics, history, chemistry, family, and love, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss is sure to enrapture both those who already are admirers of Terence and his work, and those who have only just discovered him. Part biography, part autobiography, with plenty of side roads to psychedelic adventure and reflections on life, this is a must-read book for anyone interested in the works of Dennis and Terence McKenna, or simply interested in psychedelics in general. Highly recommended.