Two years after serving nine months in a federal pen on drug and gun possession charges, rock-and-roll superstar Crosby belts out a grand mea culpa memoir. Crosby and old pal Gottlieb, a screenwriter, adopt a multivoiced approach here, slicing the musician's words with commentary from scores of his acquaintances. The result is a textured oral history of three decades--from which Crosby emerges as paradigm of the rotten side of the counterculture. There's no equivocation about the bitter fuits of his wild ride: the book opens with Ross General Hospital's 1983 admissions report on Crosby (""Chemical dependency, opiate and cocaine. Chronic staphylococcal neurodermatitis. Peforate nasal septum. . .""). And there's no screening of what mutated the once handsome and healthy star into a paranoid, obese zombie: ""Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll--I was in the middle of it from the beginning. I chased perpetual pleasure and got a full measure of pain as a payback."" Born to an Oscarwinning cinematographer, Crosby warbled sweetly at a California prep school, migrated to Greenwich Village to soak up the folk scene, moved back West, hooked up with Roger McGuinn and Dave Clark--and the Byrds were bom, opening the door to all the money, sex--mostly orgiastic--and drugs a fellow could want. Portraits of other rockers and of the San Francisco flower scene abound here; but the spotlight, ever more glaring, is on dugs--acid, pot, cocaine, then more cocaine, until Crosby's mined nose led him to freebase and smoke the crystals, and heroin too. ""I was scared shitless all the time,"" says Crosby, who packed a gun within easy reach of his shaking hands, constantly burned from nodding out while cooking up his coke. Then the busts, cold-turkey detox, and jail in Texas, where he joined a con band and made music without dugs. Today he's back touring, attending A.A., ""glad to be alive."" No other rock star has escaped dug-hell and told the story. Crosby's is a unique, brutally frank, and enthralling cautionary tale then, one that limns in bright, brisk takes the excesses of a man and a generation. Expect a large--and well-deserved--readership.