Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III, a book review by Greg Heffelfinger
© 2016 Grateful Music LLC
After leaving the organization, Bear moved around and Greenfield goes off the path during this period of his life. He talks about Owsley and his children and how he used his time in prison to learn metallurgy. He talked about how it was possible in the nineties to meet Bear at a GD show and buy a handmade belt buckle or pin for crazy amounts of money. Now those buckles and pins are priceless. Greenfield does spend a lot of time discussing Bear's trips to Australia and the building of his home there. He spends a lot of time on Bear's fight with cancer and the end of his life.
The book is a good read. I hate to call it a beach book but it had the same traits. I read it in maybe two or three consecutive sittings. I think Greenfield just skims the top of his life and the highlights and high lows of his careers. It's not a bad book but if you really want to know more about the man they called Bear, and it is mentioned in Greenfield's book, read the book by his ex-wife, Dr. Rhony Gisson-Stanley, "Owsley and Me". It goes into much more detail about the reason we all know Owsley and if you really want to know as much as possible, read both. At times it seems that Greenfield did his research from Wikipedia or other lightweight sources and he got some great interviews but I feel like Rhony's book was much closer to the real Bear. Owsley made an effort to stay out of the limelight and it sort of worked. Greenfield had his work cut out for him to start with, especially compared to the Rolling Stones, but he only seemed to skim the top of the sine-wave that is Owsley Stanley. It's well-written but I felt like he could've dove deeper. It's a solid B or maybe I'd give it three and a half lightning bolts. Actually, I'd probably give him four bolts because Owsley didn't leave much of a paper trail so it wasn't an easy assignment. "Alice D. Millionaire" was a complicated, highly intelligent, and incredibly talented man. The book gets that across but I don't feel like it's greedy for Greenfield to have given more. For one of the most original, creative, and massive intellects of the 1960's, i just feel like Greenfield could've done more.