Reviews

Psychedelic Press UK 

“There is much to be enjoyed by a reading Aldous Huxley’s Hands by Allene Symons. Although for the psychedelic history buff, and the Aldous Huxley buff, there is a good deal you may well have read before, there are without doubt some interesting additions to the story. Moreover, it is reconditioned delightfully in light of Symons’ relationship with her father, and the great spiritual explorations on the west coast of the USA in the 1950s, painting a vivid and engaging picture. Heartily recommended.”

 – Robert Dickens,Psychedelic Book Review, (April 12, 2016) 

 Publishers Weekly

“What stands out in this crammed book is the touching way Symons recalls a particular time in history—and the men who helped shape its science—through conversation with her elderly father. The book works as a “memory duet” of Thrasher’s extraordinary research and Symons’s recollection of the hundreds of hands her father meticulously studied and photographed.”

– Publishers Weekly (Oct. 26, 2015)

New York Journal of Books

“Symons has produced a great read in this biography, raising awareness of the potential of psychedelics for a new generation. This is a vital conversation about a potent tool that can help us individually and collectively deal with some of the more intractable troubles currently facing humanity. Kudos to her for her hard work in piecing together this narrative.”

 Stephen Hren, New York Journal of Books (Dec. 7, 2015)

Kirkus

“Although his visionary quest has been well-known through his writings, Symons creates candid portraits of Huxley and his circle—his wife, Maria, who ministered to his every need, though dying of cancer; Gerald Heard, founder of a 300-acre spiritual retreat in rural California; and the hardworking [Dr. Humphry] Osmond.

Kirkus Reviews (Sept. 15, 2015)

Signature Review (Penguin Random House’s integrated review site of Biography/Memoir titles)

“The book might have seemed to have come out of nowhere to people who knew him better for his fiction, but Huxley’s experiment with mescaline was long in the making. Author Allene Symons writes about this period of intellectual exploration in her new book Aldous Huxley’s Hands. Symons’s father was a friend of Huxley’s before and during the time of his experiments with psychedelics, a fact that he revealed to his daughter during the last years of his life. His recollections, along with Huxley’s personal correspondences, paint a picture of a man committed to plumbing the very depths of his mind.”

– Matt Staggs, Signature Review (December 21, 2015)

SF Crowsnest

“Please don’t treat this book as a complete history of Aldous Huxley but more about his involvement with American culture and LSD. At the back of the book, Symons voices her opinions of the use of LSD, especially for some medical conditions.”

GF Wilmetts, SF Crowsnest (January, 2016)

The Indy, Laguna Beach

“Through interviews, road trips, and family documents, the author reconstructs a time peaking in mid-1950s Los Angeles when Huxley experimented with psychedelic substances, ran afoul of gatekeepers, and advocated responsible use of such hallucinogens to treat mental illness as well as to achieve states of mind called mystical.”

 The Indy, Laguna Beach Staff (January 7, 2016)