Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD by Dieter Hagenback, Lucius Werthmüller
408 pages - Synergetic Press
This detailed account of the career and influence of the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann captures the character but not the brilliance of its subject. Born in 1906, Hofmann's life spans over a period of unprecedented technological change and industrial advancement but marred by the devastation of the world wars. Hagenbach and Wertmuller cover Hofmann's early discoveries up to the twenty-fifth attempt at a derivative, the one that would make him famous and infamous, LSD-25. They follow the thread of his discovery into 1960s, the Beats, the CIA, and further, including the eventual imprisonment of users, many of whom Hofmann contacted sympathetically. At times the book comes across as pre-emptively defensive, written like a strange leaflet handed out in the street. The authors fail to sound credible, for example, when describing a conference attended by "more than eighty well-known scientists, drug experts, artists and observers from around the world." Dozens of boxed quotes- from random cultural figures of the time-distract from the main text and undermine the authors' attempt at a comprehensive biographical or even cultural study.
Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD [eBook]
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