Too Much to Dream

A Psychedelic American Boyhood


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Book Description

Growing up in the suburbs of Boston and raised on secular Judaism, Cocoa Puffs, and Gilligan’s Island, Peter Bebergal was barely in his teens when the ancient desire to finding higher spiritual meaning in the universe struck. Already schooled in mysticism by way of comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, and Carlos Castaneda, he turned to hallucinogens, convinced they would provide a path to illumination.

Was this profound desire for God—a god he believed that could only be apprehended by an extreme state of altered consciousness—simply a side effect of the drugs? Or was it a deeper human longing that was manifesting itself, even on a country club golf course at the edge of a strip mall?

Too Much to Dream places Bebergal’s story within the cultural history of hallucinogens, American fascination with mysticism, and the complex relationship between drug addiction, popular culture, rock ‘n’ roll, occultism, and psychology. With a captivating foreword by Peter Coyote, and interviews with writers, artists, and psychologists such as Dennis McKenna, James Fadima, Arik Roper, Jim Woodring, and Mark Tulin, Bebergal offers a groundbreaking exploration of drugs, religion, and the craving for spirituality entrenched in America’s youth.

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Praise For This Book

Praise for Too Much to Dream

"Bebergal's beautifully nuanced prose and depths of psychological insight make this one of the best memoirs of the decade, one that also offers a uniquely valuable perspective on addiction." --Booklist

"Bebergal embarks upon a whirlwind coming-of-age journey, consorting with homeless acid-heads, occult-obsessed mall security guards, desperate hardcore punkers and other fringe dwellers. He delves into underground comics, psychedelic rock, Western ceremonial magic and lots and lots of tripping. Along the way, Bebergal presents a primer on the psychedelic era, discussing in extended non-memoir passages the history of LSD, the I-Ching, the Silver Surfer, Pink Floyd and more." --Metro

"Told with compassion and understanding . . . [Bebergal's] analysis of addictive behavior provides material for thought and discussion. In the end, Bebergal offers hope that his addictive behavior can rest, and that he's discovered the bliss of the everyday." --Publishers Weekly

"Too Much to Dream makes Catcher in the Rye look like a Boy Scout manual. With honesty and insight, Peter Bebergal, ever hard-up for mystical experience, reveals the underbelly of the countercultural slogan Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, where festered a deep spiritual quest. Lenny Bruce once said that people were leaving the church and looking for God; Bebergal's particular journey extends that concept by taking the universe personally but finally surrendering his demons of drug addiction to the ultimate, inconceivable Mystery, while managing to keep one foot in the fantasy world." --Paul Krassner, author of Who's to Say What's Obscene: Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today

"Too Much to Dream is at once an examination of American drug culture and a deeply personal journey of self-reflection and addiction. In Bebergal's search for spiritual enlightenment, he dispels the myths surrounding the use and abuse of psychedelics and other mind-altering substances. This is a wonderfully powerful story that teaches us that transcendence is best found with our feet firmly planted on the ground and our 'eyes toward heaven.'"
--James Brown, author of The Los Angeles Diaries and This River