Leary is the main figure in one of the decade’s most audacious and exciting stories, told with page-turning panache by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis... While the book is decidedly 'not a biography,' the authors succeed admirably in their goal to present 'a dramatic, hidden piece of modern American history — a madly careening, twenty-eight-month global hunt for one man' ... Free love and drugs figure prominently throughout, but this is no frivolous thriller ...Minutaglio and Davis bring to vivid, lucid light the chaos of the era ...exceptionally well-researched narrative, as sleekly plotted as the best spy thriller, moves along a well-balanced parallel track ...a wonderful portrait of a real-life trickster at work.
...a fun and exhausting recap of the LSD proselytizer Timothy Leary’s efforts to outrun Richard Nixon and the American law ...this one is told in a present-tense style that privileges roller-coaster participation over dispassionate context. You know early on that there will be entertainment in the details ... The Most Dangerous Man in America, rigorously researched and shot through with some necessary conjecture, offers the pleasures of the ticktock genre. But the book doesn’t really have registers beyond tick and tock ...fine for many of the more well-known historical events here to serve as understated commentary on today’s world, but the present-tense immersion in the proceedings means that complex social and political issues mostly pass by as background blur ... Much like Leary himself, the book is plenty of zany fun right until it’s not.
The book’s linking of Leary and Nixon may at first appear a little forced, even if the president grew obsessed with the druggy outlaw. Leary and Nixon may seem like an odd pair … [Leary] symbolized everything the Nixonians hated about youth culture. Their plan was to make an example of Leary, painting him as the greatest threat to American young people, and then declare victory when they were able to recapture him … Leary’s prison escape and his sojourns in Algeria and Switzerland are told in a breezy, novelistic style. The authors have done an enormous amount of research, but they have decided to weave a tale, not make any arguments or broad claims. They write in the present tense, as if they are witnesses to events as they unfold. The chapters are very short and easy to digest. There is no analysis to get in the way.
Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis revisit this wild saga in The Most Dangerous Man in America, a rip-roaring tale of hallucinogenic drugs, revolutionary politics and an intercontinental standoff between a law-and-order president and a louche ex-professor ... Their deep dive into government archives supports a narrative that never lacks for drama ...prose is lean and brisk...in Leary, they’ve found a brilliant, ridiculous main character who was one of the era’s emblematic figures ...an energetic nonfiction narrative, one made up of short chapters and cinematic scenes ... On the whole, though, this is a well-researched and factually sound book ... The Most Dangerous Man in America isn’t what you’d call an important work of history, and it has its imperfections. But it also happens to be awfully entertaining.
Can you dig it? In their wild new book, authors Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis chronicle the far-out odyssey of Timothy Leary — philosopher king of the hippies and evangelist of LSD — as a fugitive from justice in the early 1970s … The authors themselves, who also collaborated on Dallas 1963, are clearly high on their material, gathered from hundreds of primary and secondary sources — interviews, transcripts, journals, letters and the like. Minutaglio and Davis don’t do dry, detached nonfiction. Instead, they have crafted a hopped-up, sometimes risibly over-the-top narrative that unfolds in present-tense real time. It takes a while to get used to, but once you’re in, their book delivers an outlandish concoction of twists, turns and international intrigue.
The saga of [Leary’s] fugitive odyssey and the government’s desperate manhunt is told in The Most Dangerous Man in America, by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. It’s a rollicking tale that brings to life the antic atmosphere of America in the ‘Me Decade’ … The Most Dangerous Man in America is written in the present tense like a thriller. Scenes inside solitary-confinement cells, squalid dope and love nests, and the Black Panther ‘embassy’ are described in pointillist detail … It’s a toss-up whether Leary or Nixon was the more dangerous man in America in their time, but they plainly deserved each other.
Fast-paced and suspenseful, their book captures a mad — and menacing — moment in American history. Clearly, Minutaglio and Davis have done their homework. In my judgment, however, they compromise their credibility by presenting in italics (and sometimes surrounded by quotation marks) ‘interior thoughts and monologues derived from memoirs and primary sources’ … That said, The Most Dangerous Man in America is awash in authenticated details, by turns outlandish and outrageous, that illuminate 1970s American culture and politics.
The book is a deeply researched, entertaining and informative look at the symbolically joined paths Nixon and one of his nemeses, LSD guru Timothy Leary, followed in the early 1970s, the era that would ultimately be defined by Watergate … The book is filled with such amusing and enlightening tidbits.
...a brisk, riveting book that, thanks to the use of present tense, novelistic color and frequent cross-cutting between characters and locations, moves a ton of information with crackling immediacy … The authors do a fine job of stitching together the many disparate Learys: the ‘High Priest of LSD,’ the Harvard psychologist with a genius IQ, the sensualist, the showman, the manipulator … The Most Dangerous Man in America has ‘movie’ written all over it, from Leary's initial prison break to Nixon's gathering fury as the ‘Pope of Dope’ eludes the manhunt.
...a rich and frequently hilarious chronicle of the Nixon administration’s 28-month pursuit of one very slippery old hippie ... Ultimately, it’s a story whose twists would involve a wealthy playgirl, a shadowy financier, and government officials who were torn between aiding the Hanoi-bombing hunter or his acid-gulping prey ... Minutaglio and Davis are superb storytellers, and throughout the narrative, they nimbly move between their two converging subjects. Their account is expertly detailed and blessedly fat-free.