Additional Book Information

Series: Notting Hill Editions
Pages: 236
Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Mentored by a MadmanThe William Burroughs Experiment

by A.J. Lees, introduction by James Grauerholz

$15.16 $18.95

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A. J. Lees relates how William S. Burroughs, the author of Naked Lunch and a troubled drug addict, inspired him to discover a groundbreaking treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Lees journeys to the Amazon rain forest in search of cures, and through self-experimentation he seeks to find the answers his patients crave. Burroughs is a ghostly mentor to Lees, influencing his methods of inquiry and encouraging him to be open-minded—a rarity in modern clinical practice. This is the story that Lees delayed writing for fear of professional ostracism, but here at last he “lets the cat out of the bag.” Mentored by a Madman is a powerful protest against bureaucracy, and a call for imagination in medical research.


Lees takes the reader on an extraordinary journey inside and outside the brain. His deep humanity and honesty shines throughout. The inevitable comparison with the late, great Oliver Sacks is entirely just.
—Raymond Tallis

Andrew Lees celebrates the honourable tradition of the hunch in medical diagnosis and treatment.
—Professor John Hardy, winner of the 2015 Discovery Prize

[Lees’s] book is not just a wonderfully unexpected addition to the Burroughs literature, but an important polemic for more humane and imaginative medical research.
—Phil Baker, The Times Literary Supplement