Psychologist Timothy Leary, who died in 1996, was the father of the psychedelic movement of the 1960s and its experiments with mind-altering drugs. In 1960, Leary joined the faculty of Harvard at the Center for Personality Research, where he analyzed the effects of psychedelics and personality. As part of his research, he introduced L.S.D. and other psychedelic drugs to many, and also used them himself. Leary was eventually asked to leave the university, and later served time in jail on drug charges. We listen back to Terry Gross' 1983 interview with Leary as well as our 1990 interview with spiritual leader Ram Dass, who joined Leary in some of his psychedelic experiments. And we'll hear from journalist Michael Pollan whose 2018 book 'How to Change Your Mind' explored the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.
Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews HBO's 'The Undoing,' starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman.
Rumaan Alam's novel, 'Leave the World Behind,' centers on two families — one Black and one white — who are sharing a vacation home during a mysterious disaster. It explores issues of race and class, fear, and how we respond to crisis.
Ken Tucker reviews a new deluxe edition of Prince's masterpiece 'Sign O' The Times.'
Craig Foster spent a year diving — without oxygen or a wetsuit — into the frigid sea near Cape Town, South Africa. One octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster watched. He documents their unlikely friendship in 'My Octopus Teacher,' now on Netflix.
Nina Totenberg is widely regarded as the dean of legal journalists. She started covering the Supreme court in 1971 and became NPR's legal correspondent in 1975. We talk about breaking the Anita Hill story, her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her early career as a pioneer for women in journalism. This conversation was recorded from a live Zoom event for WHYY.
Nunez's new novel, 'What Are You Going Through,' is about facing mortality and the relationship between a writer dying of cancer and the friend she asks to stay with her.
Lloyd Schwartz reviews a collection of performances by Leontyne Price, the first Black soprano to have a major career at the Metropolitan Opera. And John Powers reviews the Netflix miniseries 'The Queen's Gambit.'
'New York Times Magazine' writer Emily Bazelon talks about how the lies and conspiracy theories sweeping through American media are leading some scholars to question our faith in free speech and in minimal government regulation of speech. Bazelon says false content moves through the Internet unchecked — undermining the political process along the way.
Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'El Duelo.'
Historian H.W. Brands' new book, 'The Zealot and the Emancipator' looks at two very different 19th century leaders, John Brown and Abraham Lincoln. Brown was a militant abolitionist who embraced violence and was hanged after he tried to spark an insurrection at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. President Lincoln resisted conflict as long as possible, hoping laws and reason would keep Southern states in the Union, and eventually bring an end to human bondage.
Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Martin Eden,' an adaptation of the Jack London novel.