• At the beginning of Chapter 1, the male narrator, Theodore Stevens Bordorin (known by his loved ones as Shura), describes growing up in Berkeley, California, in the late 1920s and 1930s.
• Shura's father was a Russian immigrant, while his mother was from a small town in Illinois; both were schoolteachers.
• Shura was extremely precocious and won a scholarship to Harvard at the age of sixteen, but joined the Navy during World War II because of poor grades.
• In Chapter 2, Shura quickly earns a PhD from the University of California.
• Shura also takes mescaline for the first time in 1960, which allows him to see the world as a child again and forces him in the direction of studying psychedelic drugs.
• Chapter 4 concerns Shura's experiments with TMA, an analogue of mescaline.
• Shura leaves his job at Dole Chemical Company in Chapter 7; it is the mid 1960s and Shura believes...
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