The history of Esalen is like a picture of a tiny stream that feeds into the Amazon – what starts as a small trickle of “travellers of the mind” feeds into a rampaging philosophical torrent destined to cut through the passion-depleted monoculture of 1950s America.

“Esalen: American and the Religion of No Relgion” reads like a grocery list of cultural mayhem; its guest list a gang of crazed midwives about to birth the freak-out of the 1960s. You could seriously spend the rest of your life diving into the lives and works of all the people mentioned in this book; it’s like a manual of post-war counterculture.