Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World

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Synopsis

Few stories in the annals of American counterculture are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

 

Dubbed the “Hippie Mafia,” the Brotherhood began in the mid-1960s as a small band of peace-loving, adventure-seeking surfers in Southern California. After discovering LSD, they took to Timothy Leary’s mantra of “Turn on, tune in, and drop out” and resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, and literally providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.

 

Just days after California became the first state in the union to ban LSD, the Brotherhood formed a legally registered church in its headquarters at Mystic Arts World on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, where they sold blankets and other countercultural paraphernalia retrieved through surfing safaris and road trips to exotic locales in Asia and South America. Before long, they also began to sell Afghan hashish, Hawaiian pot (the storied “Maui Wowie”), and eventually Colombian cocaine, much of which the Brotherhood smuggled to California in secret compartments inside surfboards and Volkswagen minibuses driven across the border.

 

They also befriended Leary himself, enlisting him in the goal of buying a tropical island where they could install the former Harvard philosophy professor and acid prophet as the high priest of an experimental utopia. The Brotherhood’s most legendary contribution to the drug scene was homemade: Orange Sunshine, the group’s nickname for their trademark orange-colored acid tablet that happened to produce an especially powerful trip. Brotherhood foot soldiers passed out handfuls of the tablets to communes, at Grateful Dead concerts, and at love-ins up and down the coast of California and beyond. The Hell’s Angels, Charles Mason and his followers, and the unruly crowd at the infamous Altamont music festival all tripped out on this acid. Jimi Hendrix even appeared in a film starring Brotherhood members and performed a private show for the fugitive band of outlaws on the slope of a Hawaiian volcano.

 

Journalist Nicholas Schou takes us deep inside the Brotherhood, combining exclusive interviews with both the group’s surviving members as well as the cops who chased them. A wide-sweeping narrative of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll (and more drugs) that runs from Laguna Beach to Maui to Afghanistan, Orange Sunshine explores how America moved from the era of peace and free love into a darker time of hard drugs and paranoia.


 

About Nicholas Schou

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Nicholas Schou is the author of Kill the Messenger and Orange Sunshine. He is an award-winning investigative journalist with OC Weekly who has also written for LA Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times.
 
Published March 16, 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Orange Sunshine

Kirkus Reviews

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Before long, the Brotherhood had gone from acid church to “hippie Mafia.” While Stewart Tendler and David May’s The Brotherhood of Eternal Love (1984) approached this material as a true-crime story, journalist Schou (Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist...

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BC Books

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Reporter explores the history of a group that tried to bring LSD to the masses through a major drug dealing operation.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

BC Books

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Whether the Brotherhood was as massive a drug smuggling operation as its members claim or the book suggests, there is little doubt it was a major cartel.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

BC Books

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In fact, starting in 1967 the group would be responsible for the manufacture and distribution of millions more hits of a form of LSD with 200 times the regular dosage, an LSD tablet Griggs would call "Orange Sunshine," Several members of the group also made repeated trips to Afghanistan to smugg...

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

BC Books

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Yet as Nicholas Schou explores in Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, those were among the main activities of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

New York Journal of Books

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“The defeat of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love,” Schou writes, “was celebrated in an October 3, 1973 hearing by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security titled ‘Hashish Smuggling and Passport Fraud: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love.’” The psychedelic idealists ended up as felons, though ...

Mar 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

San Francisco Chronicle

"Cocaine, and the greed and paranoia that came with it destroyed whatever was genuine in the Brotherhood's idealistic, spiritual origins," writes Schou.

Mar 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

News Review.

Once upon a time, when LSD was legal and 1960s rock bands were creating music to assist in opening doors of perception, some fans/hipsters were inspired to completely knock doors off their hinges.

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Orange Sunshine: The Brotherh...

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