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Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 1 dic 2016

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39 di 43 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Solid Bio of An Enigmatic, Indelible 1960s Personality 15 novembre 2016
Di James D. McCallister - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
In 1985, when I became initiated into my new life as a latter generation Deadhead—it’s called “getting on the bus,” referencing a lyric from the Dead’s psychedelic classic “That’s It for The Other One”—I had certainly heard of Augustus Owsley Stanley III. As an aficionado of the 1960s social revolution I had missed by virtue of being born in the midst of it, my knowledge of important figures of the day included the most famous purveyor of LSD, the “high octane rocket fuel” that helped usher in what many felt was the beginning of a new age.

Even back in 1967's legendary Summer of Love, Owsley, a street chemist nicknamed “Bear,” had already acquired a reputation for brilliance and mystery. Credited with manufacturing millions of doses of a drug capable of transforming an individual’s worldview as well as that of society itself, Owsley cut a figure of enigmatic renown, in particular because so little seemed known about the man behind the legend. The new biography Bear by journalist and author Robert Greenfield (Dark Star: An Oral History of Jerry Garcia, Timothy Leary: A Biography) seeks to fill in many of those missing details.

From an interesting and somewhat unsettled childhood as grandson of a progressive (for the time) U. S. Senator from Kentucky, and son of a troubled father forever laboring in the shadow of his more accomplished patriarch, Owsley would become far more notable, and notorious, than either could have dreamed. An autodidact with a brilliant, computer-like mind—an epigraph from Garcia that opens the book reads “There’s nothing wrong with Bear that the loss of a few billion brain cells wouldn’t cure”—Owsley acquired a deserved, if overbearing, reputation for being the smartest person in any given room.

But Bear knew a great deal about more than chemistry: his contributions to live audio reinforcement would make the Grateful Dead famous not only for their lengthy musical improvisations, but for the clarity and power of their sound system. In an era when Beatles performances came piped through baseball stadium PA horns, Bear’s commitment to devising new and elaborate methods of amplifying the output of onstage instruments would alter the way music lovers enjoy live rock concerts.

An inveterate womanizer and irascible, intractable egoist, in time Bear would not only wear out his welcome with the band for whom he provided early financial as well as lysergic support, but beginning in 1970 also served a two-year prison stretch. During this incarceration, he learned the fine arts of metallurgy and jewelry making, which would sustain him financially throughout the rest of his life in place of his former chemical endeavors. (Cultivating cannabis would also serve as a vocation, though Bear himself expressed disinterest about using this particular plant for its psychoactive properties.)

Ever the iconoclast, after suffering a series of recurring dreams about environmental disaster in the Northern hemisphere of the Earth, in the early 1980s Bear attempted to persuade the members of the extended Dead family to immigrate to Australia. While finding no takers, Owsley himself made the move, living out the rest of his years in converted shipping containers in a barren and secluded part of that vast continent. While he returned to America to attend Dead shows (I met and spoke with him at a couple), Australia would become his final home.

As health problems began to plague him, the once indomitable Bear began to show signs of frailty and fragility, particularly after a bout with radiation to treat an instance of cancer in his neck, a disease he attributed to breathing second-hand cigarette smoke during his years working in rock & roll sound reinforcement. This illness on top of open heart surgery a few years earlier left this iconic counterculture figure a skeletal version of his former hearty self, though to the end he hosted his own version of Down Under acid tests, as well as lived to see, and criticize, the release of over a dozen of his audio recordings.

While Greenfield includes a thorough bibliography, end notes, and discography, for such a towering, world-famous figure—his name, which became synonymous with LSD itself, enjoys a listing in various dictionaries—this biography ends up feeling somewhat thin and anecdotal. Intended more, perhaps, for the general public than scholars of the Grateful Dead experience for whom much of this material will read as duly familiar, Bear still provides a solid, humanizing overview of a cultural enigma who just may have changed the world more than few other twentieth-century figures outside of politics or medicine. Augustus Owsley Stanley may have finally been brought to a prosaic end in a roadside traffic accident, but his spirit, intellect, and contributions to sound reinforcement will most assuredly live on.
18 di 20 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle I will leave it for others to discuss the accuracy but I enjoyed it tremendously 21 novembre 2016
Di Lawn Jockey - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
Five stars for the subject matter. In 1967 I was a 12 year old runaway in the Haight. I survived Altamont. And I clearly remember the Wall of Sound at Winterland. Living in Marin in the 70s the Dead were everywhere in one variation or another. I picked up this book and read it straight through. I will leave it for others to discuss the accuracy but I enjoyed it tremendously. Memories kept coming back of a magical time that just couldn't last.
3 di 3 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Fascinating account of a psychedelic egotist 30 dicembre 2016
Di kevnm - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
A fascinating read and a nice slice of cultural history. Bear's connection to the Dead and other prominent 60s figures is what makes this worthwhile. The concerts, the musicians, the short but widespread popularity of LSD, the busts, the hustles, Bill Graham - all of these are ultimately of more interest than the life of a cranky and eccentric egotist who must have been difficult to be around. Here, though, we get all the stories and weirdness without having to put up with Owsley himself. A fun and worthwhile read.
5 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
3.0 su 5 stelle Before I read Greenfield's book, I had listened to ... 20 novembre 2016
Di Amazon Customer - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
Before I read Greenfield's book, I had listened to the Bear stuff on You Tube, also I had read Owsley and Me: My LSD Family by Rhoney Gissen Stanley ...jn that regard, Greenfield did not offer much new material. If you know absolutely nothing about Bear, you should read the book, otherwise,'ho hum'... RIP Bear.
19 di 22 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle The book seems pretty accurate. I was very young 12 dicembre 2016
Di Rainbow's Edge - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
The book seems pretty accurate. I was very young, and I encountered Owsley three times but I knew rather well, several of those involved in Greenfield's book. Perry Lederman resided in a studio apartment of my childhood home during the summer of 1967. In retrospect, I'm am all but certain that Lederman's admitting to outing Owsley during an LSD transaction, as Greenfield describes, was simply cover for his turning state's evidence on Stanley, under pressure from a related drug arrest.
The caption below the picture of Owsley with Ravi Shankar at Monterey is wrong. The tabla player listed incorrectly, is Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussein's father. Though Owsley was briefly involved with Ali Akbar Khan, the sarod master, it was not at Monterey. He came around a Scripps funded American Society for Eastern Arts music school at which Khan was teaching. Lederman no doubt made the introduction, I was in the room when they met. I never witnessed Owsley doing anything directly, but I recall his offering of acid being discussed in the aftermath. He talked his way into doing sound reinforcement for an Ali Akbar Khan, Berkeley Community Theater show. It was about a 2500 seated show and the audience got pissed off because he ran it way too loud and there was feedback.
Now reading Greenfield's book, 50 years later, it is difficult to believe that my siblings and I emerged from that chaos without more consequences.