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.