White Hand Society
The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg
San Francisco Chronicle
"Conners writes like a poet and researches like a scholar. He pored over hundreds of letters, FBI files and other primary sources to shed new light on these two avatars of altered consciousness. He argues convincingly that Leary 'would have just been some square Harvard professor' without the introductions and connections that Ginsberg provided."
"At first glance they seem to be an unlikely pair, the iconoclastic, highly radical Allen Ginsberg, eager to break down many of the conventions of his times, and the Ivy League college professor, Timothy Leary, all collar and tie and with a career in academia ahead of him. Yet Leary reinvented himself and took a path that was, at least for a time, to make him as much a radical figure as Ginsberg. In 'White Hand Society' Peter Conners investigates the coming together, the alliances that these two figures had for a time. It is a story of the 1960s that flowered briefly as America's secret services closely monitored the duo as they threatened to play a significant part in breaking up society as it was."
"Conners maps the trail of where Ginsberg's paths intersected with Leary’s over three-hundred readable, well-paced, straightforward pages."
"Leary's life, and his fruitful collaboration with the poet Allen Ginsberg, has been illuminated in Peter Conners' recent study, White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg, an engaging narrative which spans several decades, as well as the entire U.S., with side trips to Europe and North Africa."
Resources for American Literary Study
"The text itself is clearly and engagingly written, and Conners has a flair for dramatic effect. One can easily imagine him doing successful oral presentations of segments of his book for appreciative audiences." --William Lawlor, Resources for American Literary Study.
"A full account of the two 1960s icons who made it their cause to launch the psychedelic age. . . . an entertaining overview of an era whose echoes still ring."
"Conners (Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead) splendidly brings these two mavericks [Ginsberg and Leary] back to life as he chronicles that first meeting at Leary's house and traces their growing bond as they built the bridges between the 'holy trinity' (Albert Hofmann, the father of psychedelics; Aldous Huxley; and William Blake) of visionary consciousness expansion and the 1960s psychedelic movement."
- Publishers Weekly
Washington City Paper
"Combining strong archival research (especially in the Ginsberg archives at Stanford) with a narrative flair that animates, say, a lecture Leary made in Copenhagen into something out of Kinsey. Conners traces Leary's progress from philandering West Coast researcher to psychedelic convert and Harvard lecturer alongside Allen Ginsberg’s progression from clean-shaven Blakean to hirsute Blakean. On the way, the two join forces to convince the Youth of the virtues of acid."
"The White Hand Society is a truly exciting book in the sense that Conners has managed to bring forward the pulsing energy of those exciting times and textually reintegrate the feelings for a modern audience. And, on a personal note, I've always found Ginsberg and Leary’s individual stories fascinating but having them presented in conjunction not only makes a lot of sense, it makes a wonderful read."
"White Hand is notable for both the tremendous amount of new information it provides and they way that it's presented. Conners not only tells us the whens and whys but he does so by-way of a seamless narrative that puts history into relevant perspective. Obviously, Conners instinctively understands the sensibilities of both Leary and Ginsberg and he writes from the 'inside,' giving a voice to the secret details of a movement that would come to influence the course of every art form."
The Daily Beat
"This is an important addition to the literature on the beat generation, documenting the collaboration between two remarkable visionaries who took America on the ride of her life. If you're a beat generation fan, a hippie, a child of the 60s, or a fan of biographies, you'll be turned on by White Hand Society."